NEW YORK — The Big Apple needs bigger boats.
To meet increasing demand for the nearly-year-old East River Ferry service, the city is adding new ferries with more than twice as much capacity as the current boats, officials announced Friday.
The new boats will hold 399 people, rather than the current 149, and will run on summer weekends beginning Saturday.
"Since its launch, this pilot program on the East River has proven to be incredibly popular — so popular, it turns out, that we’re going to need bigger boats," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement Friday. "The larger vessels and other improvements will make sure more New Yorkers and tourists can get wherever they want to go.”
In addition to the larger boats, the city also announced the opening of a new ferry slip at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is designed to speed loading and unloading of passengers and reduce delays.
The East River Ferry service, which connects East 34th Street, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Wall Street, is nearly a year into a three-year subsidized pilot program.
Starting Memorial Day weekend, the ferries will run 6:45 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. on weekdays, every 20 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes off-peak. On Saturdays and Sundays, the new larger boats will run every 45 minutes from 9:35 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The ferry costs $4 for a one-way ticket, $12 for an all-day pass and $140 for an unlimited monthly pass.