NYC Ferry ridership up 32 percent in 2019: EDC
BY GABE HERMAN
The NYC Ferry saw increased ridership
in 2019 from the previous year,
according to figures released Thursday
by the NYC Economic Development
Corporation (EDC), which owns
the aquatic transport system.
In 2019, 6.3 million people rode NYC
Ferry, a 32 percent increase from 2018
and a 38 percent increase from projections
made back in 2015, according to
Seth Myers, NYC EDC Executive Vice
President and Director of Project Implementation.
That brings the system’s
total ridership number to 14 million
since NYC Ferry’s launch in May 2017.
The increase in ridership includes
all original routes and those new
routes launched in 2018.
Last summer alone saw 2.5 million
riders on the system, a 32 percent
jump from 2018. Ridership on the four
original routes, East River, Rockaway,
South Brooklyn and Astoria, increased
15 percent from the previous year.
The Lower East Side and Soundview
routes, which both launched in
August 2018, had 23 percent ridership
increases in fall 2019 over fall 2018.
Myers said he was pleased that the
ferry system had seen steady year over
year increases in ridership.
“We’re happy to see it become part
of the transit fabric of the city,” he
NYC Ferry is scheduled to expand
its services in the coming years. A St.
George route, complementing the free
Staten Island Ferry, is set to launch in
2020 and include stops at Vesey Street
in Battery Park City and at Midtown
West at Pier 79 (West 39th Street). There
is no specific date for when in 2020 the
new route will launch, Myers said.
A Coney Island route is set to debut
in 2021, and a Ferry Point Park stop
in the Bronx will be added in 2021 to
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the Soundview route. Myers added
that new ways to improve the system
are constantly being explored, such
as recently adding early morning ferries
on the Rockaway and Soundview
routes for those needing to get to work
“We’re always looking at different
ways we can modify the schedule to
better serve riders,” Myers said.
Three months ago, the NYC EDC released
a report showing that NYC Ferry
disproportionately serves uppermiddle
class and white New Yorkers.
And studies by watchdog groups have
shown the system to rely on high subsidies.
Myers said the price of an NYC
Ferry ride will remain at $2.75, the
same as for subways and buses.
In the wake of the report, Myers is
hopeful the new services coming over
the next two years will bring further
diversity in ridership.
“We set out for our ferry system to
go where there was demand, and target
social inequities of the past where
there were waterfront communities
that were not served by transit,” Myers
said. He added that outreach is being
done to spread word of the ferry services
to communities near water, including
The goal is to make NYC Ferry a
more equitable system and to better
connect New Yorkers, Myers said.
Myers added that, in the city’s past,
riding a ferry cost more than the subway
and was seen as a recreational
diversion. If that’s still a common perception,
he observed, “through outreach
and education, we want to get to
people so they feel it’s part of the city
“We’re really proud of our success,”
he said of increased rider numbers for
2019. “We enjoy seeing the popularity
of it and the high ridership.”
NYC Ferry ridership increased in 2019. Photo Courtesy of the NYC EDC
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