Rockaway Ferry Service Stopping for Good This Fall Despite Activist Efforts

By Katie Honan on July 23, 2014 7:15am 

 The Rockaway ferry will not ride after October, DNAinfo has learned.
The Rockaway ferry will not ride after October, DNAinfo has learned.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ROCKAWAY BEACH — The Rockaway ferry is shutting down for good in the fall, despite the efforts of advocates to get a permanent extension for the service, DNAinfo has learned.

Ferry funding was extended until October for a fourth time, but a request for proposals looking for a permanent operator for the route — which stopped at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Wall Street and 34th Street — will now be suspended, officials said.

“As part of the Mayor’s executive budget, the city added funding for a fourth service extension to allow operation through October, supporting both Rockaway commuters and Brooklyn residents during the R train outage," said a spokeswoman for the city's Economic Development Corporation.

"The Rockaway ferry service will not operate beyond October."

The cost to subsidize the ferry — the most expensive in the city at $25 to $30 per trip, according to the EDC — had become too much, according to an official.

A source said the proposals they received to continue to operate the ferry could not find a way to fill that budget gap.

READ MORE ABOUT THE ROCKAWAY FERRY:

Rockaway Ferry Gets Extension But No Long-Term Funding

Rockaway Ferry Floats On Through May, But Trip Will Cost Nearly Double

Weekday Rockaway Ferry Service Extended Through Labor Day

The recent move comes despite a push from Rockaway ferry advocates who went as far as to place an ad on an Italian news site urging Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is vacationing in the country, to continue service.

The Queens Public Transit Committee published an ad on Vesuvio Live chiding de Blasio about the ferry. The online publication also interviewed the group for a story that was leading its site Tuesday afternoon.

“Mayor de Blasio, we hope you’re enjoying Italy,” the ad, which features a drawing of the ship and first appeared on the site Tuesday, reads.

“Don’t forget about the people you were elected to serve.”

Ferry riders were dealt a blow when funding for the boat wasn’t included in the mayor’s budget last month

 The ad was put in a Naples-based online publication in the hope of getting the attention of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is vacationing in Italy.
The ad was put in a Naples-based online publication in the hope of getting the attention of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is vacationing in Italy.
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Committee to Save the Rockaway Ferry/DNAinfo/Colby Hamilton

The ferry, operated by Seastreak, was brought on in November 2012 after Hurricane Sandy knocked the A train out of service, and has been extended multiple times since.

The service was considered vital to the recovery of the area in lieu of train and bus service, and many local politicians and activists still said it was important for the peninsula's continued recovery.

In June, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, along with the city's four other borough presidents, sent a letter of support for the ferry, asking de Blasio to include $8 million in his budget for seven-day-a week through June 2015. 

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