FERRY GUY FUMES
(This letter was sent to the NYCEDC):
Since its launch, the 2017 Rockaway ferry has been a huge success as far as ridership numbers (even more than I expected) but that is clearly still no excuse for leaving commuters at the dock in Rockaway or Manhattan.
The ridership of the Rockaway ferry to Manhattan during off commuting times and on the weekends during the summer has been a great bonus to the city's tourist economy.
Furthermore, the Rockaway ferry has attracted riders from Southern Queens, Brooklyn and parts of Nassau County. Great ridership numbers on the ferry does not make up for poor planning when at meeting after meeting, residents throughout the city said the boats are too small for the commuters traveling to and from work.
The facts below should have been taken into consideration when planning the ferry and choosing the operator: Seastreak used the same size ferry boat as the Citywide Ferry for the Rockaway route after Hurricane Sandy (149 passengers), and after two months of use, it was determined that the ferry was too small for the commuter runs. Seastreak then used a 250-passenger ferry and no one was left at the dock in Manhattan, Rockaway or the BAT Pier.
After the storm, the morning ferry route was 5:40-6:30 a.m. and 7:40-8:15 a.m. Since most people have to be at work before 9 a.m., there were only three commuter runs to Manhattan and the 149-passenger ferry was too small, so Seastreak had to use the 250-passenger ferry.
When the Seastreak ferry was in service, the population of Rockaway was reduced by 10-15 percent at least due to storm's dislocation. I would estimate that once the ferry service was reintroduced, three years later and the population was back to normal, the number of ferry riders should increase by 10-15 percent or on a good day putting the ridership at about 1,400 passengers per day.
The best daily ridership during the summer was 1,200 passengers (after Hurricane Sandy), but there were factors that were not taken into consideration in planning the new ferry route such as the last departure to Rockaway from Manhattan in the morning during the summer was 8:35 a.m, so very few if any beachgoers went to Rockaway beach by ferry. The second summer of ferry service, the beach replenishment took place and large sections of the beach were closed to swimmers. Beach 108th Street, closest to the ferry dock, was closed for most of July in 2014.
The boardwalk was not fully restored ‘til a month before the 2017 ferry started and as a result, that has turned into an attraction for city residents. The cost of a ferry ride went from $3.50 to $2.75, a 20 percent reduction in cost and that has also increased ridership. Interconnecting the Rockaway ferry with the Citywide ferry system has also resulted in increased ridership to and from Rockaway.
Rockaway is getting beachgoers traveling on the ferry from Staten Island and Jersey City, NJ and that wasn't factored in.
I still cannot believe that a ferry contract was awarded from a picture of a ferry and there was no test run. The current ferry has only 118 seats inside the cabin, so during poor/cold weather there could be 30 passengers standing for the entire trip.
In conclusion, since the end of ferry service in 2014 to the start of ferry service in 2017 I have been to at least thirty ferry meetings in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn, and the one common theme that was brought up at these meetings by residents was taking the new ferry to Rockaway in the summer time and the passenger capacity during commuter times.
So, for NYCEDC to say that large ridership of the Rockaway Ferry was totally unexpected is just not a true statement. If the ferry operator is going to use the same capacity ferry (149 passenger) on the East River as the Rockaway ferry route, of course there will be commuters left at the dock. The simple fact is that most of the Citywide Ferry System is on the 20-minute schedule while the Rockaway ferry is on the hour.
NYCEDC has only two choices — put the Rockaway ferry on the 20-minute schedule during commuting times or use larger ferries with the present schedule.
The most important customers for the ferry system are the commuters going to work or school and they cannot be left at the dock.
I have ended most of my letters on the Rockaway ferry with the statement, "The ferry service to Rockaway is the biggest investment in Rockaway that any Mayor has made in the last forty years." The statement is still true, and there should have been proper planning. No doubt, someone should be held accountable for this management and planning failure.
No First Come, First Serve?
This past Saturday, I went to St. Camillus and tried to pick up one of the rain barrels that was being given away, free to the public. I wasn’t able to get one because I was told that I had to pre-register for one. There was nothing in your paper that indicated that one had to pre-register so, I ended up leaving without a rain barrel. I don’t understand why someone should have had to pre-register for something that just should have been given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Thank you.
Lifeguards, Guard Your Mouths!
They do such an all-important job for us all! That said I wouldn't want to venture into our waters beyond 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., thank you. But sadly I have to report that all too often, within earshot —"Yo! Bro! F this F that F you". all day long, most often accompanied by "Inner City" sounds on their radios that they might call music (the sound of waves is not enough?) Surely their employers, teachers and parents would be Ashamed and Horrified by this dialogue and behavior. I am, every day. Maybe there should be a wondering anoymous spot-checker whose purpose is "quality control" monitoring lifeguard employees. End of lecture. From a Rockaway lover.
Cheers for Healy's
(In response to 7/23 article on Healy's Pub) My parents, my brothers and myself are proud to say that they know the family, worked with them and I went to school with them. They are a first class family and now some of the grandchildren go to school together. Here’s to another fifty!!
Cynthia Regan Allen
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