Survey Gives Ferry Thumbs Up


Rockaway Riders See Room for Improvement


A recent survey by the New York City Economic Development Corporation  (NYCEDC) claims that 93 percent of riders of the citywide ferry system are satisfied with the service. However, we asked Rockaway residents what they really think about the ferry, and many say it could use some work.

NYCEDC staff distributed surveys to riders aboard NYC Ferry vessels over two weekends and eight weekdays during five time blocks: weekday morning, mid-day, and evening, and weekend morning and afternoon. Findings are based on 1,345 total responses. The survey asked people to rate their satisfaction with the ferry on a scale of one to 10, among other questions. The results show that 93 percent of those surveyed rated the ferry a seven or above, with 66 percent of those giving it a perfect 10. It also found that most riding the ferry were commuters from the five boroughs. On the Rockaway route, during peak hours, it was found that 47 percent of riders use the ferry at least four times a week, 12 percent use it two to three times per week and 41 percent use it less than twice a week.

In a press release, NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett commented on the seemingly positive results, saying, “We’re excited that after less than four months, the vast majority of riders have had a positive experience with NYC Ferry. We’re also seeing the service meeting our goal of supporting commuters around the five boroughs.”

The survey didn’t allow for comments, so The Rockaway Times reached out to residents to find out what they think. Some, like Emer Casey, believe “it is a great alternative for residents.” However, many found that it is not without its faults, with overcrowded boats resulting in people getting left behind at the dock if you don’t get there early, being an ongoing problem for riders.

“During rush hours, coming home is a nightmare,” Antoinette Kennedy said. “I take it every weekday to and from work. I have to make sure I’m at the dock 30 to 40 minutes prior to make the ferry and even then it’s not a guarantee. I’ve been left behind a few times.” Patricia Anne said, “I commute daily on the ferry and love the ride. I do not like the fact that in the evening, I have to get there 30 minutes early to ensure I’m on the boat.” Some have given up because of this issue. “I stopped taking it because the lines were so long. I just take the train now,” Gregory Stanislaus said.

All seem to agree that more boats are needed during peak times. “Riding the ferry is terrific, but it doesn’t serve the needs of residents. The city needs to accommodate residents by adding more boats during rush hour,” Deborah O’Shea said. “They should put more ferries in during rush hours, especially on Thursday and Fridays,” Patricia Anne added.

Some are simply looking forward to less crowded boats after beach season is over. “I will take the ferry all winter and I’m looking forward to shorter lines. There’s nothing like sitting upstairs in the breeze and throwing your cares into the sea,” Patricia Anne said.

Due to high demand, NYC Ferry recently announced that it will be adding capacity to three of its twenty boats. These new boats will be outfitted with bigger engines and a capacity of up to 250 passengers. It is not clear if any of these boats will be used on the Rockaway route.

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