December 20, By Hannah Wulkan
A scale model of the new ferries that will be floating along the East River next year is making the rounds through the city to tout the features of the new ferry program, beginning in Queens.
The miniature boat will be on display at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens until January 1, and then will move to the Queens Library in Far Rockaway through January 15.
The model ferry is part of the festivities as preparations are being made for the new ferry routes in Long Island City, Astoria and Rockaway.
The new ferry stops in Astoria and Long Island City will connect passengers to Manhattan and Brooklyn, and a ferry trip will cost $2.75, or the same as a subway ride. Riders can also bring bikes onboard for an extra dollar.
The fleet will consist of 19 new boats that will be 85 feet long and capable of carrying more than 150 passengers at a time. There will be 122 seats indoors and 38 seats outdoors.
“Starting next summer, we’re bringing Citywide Ferry Service to twenty-one landings around the city, transforming commutes for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “And starting today, we’re bringing a sneak preview of our brand new, state-of-the-art boats directly to people in Queens, with more tour stops to be announced in the weeks ahead.”
A commute on the new ferry line from Astoria will be significantly shorter than on the subway in many cases, with a trip to East 34th Street taking 22 minutes, and a trip to Wall Street taking 38 minutes.
Each new boat will be ADA compliant, and will have Wi-Fi, charging stations, and concessions onboard.
The EDC announced that it expects 4.6 million people to use the ferry system each year, and expects the new system to create 155 new jobs with living wages and comprehensive benefits.
The city has invested $55 million in infrastructure upgrades, including building 10 new ferry docks, and will provide $30 million in annual support for the program.
The new Astoria route, with stops in LIC, will launch next year along with routes through North Brooklyn, South Brooklyn, and Rockaway.
New Lower East Side and Soundview routes will launch in 2018.
“While the model is on display, visitors to Borough Hall will get a glimpse of the future of transportation in Queens, which has long been underserved by traditional mass transit. The Citywide Ferry service will provide fast and affordable transportation to tens of thousands of Queens residents and we look forward to its operation next year,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.