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East River Ferry Service Makes Waves On First Day

By Amy Zimmer | June 13, 2011 1:08pm | Updated on June 13, 2011 1:43pm

By Tuan Nguyen

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Move over subways and buses, New York's newest mode of transit is making waves on the East River.

The long-awaited ferry servicefree for its first 12 days — was launched Monday morning when Mayor Michael Bloomberg rode it from Williamsburg's pier to East 34th Street.

The ferry zips from East 34th Street to Long Island City's Hunter's Point, then along North Brooklyn, from Greenpoint at India Street to Williamsburg's North Sixth Street pier down to Schaefer Landing at Kent Avenue, before heading to DUMBO's Fulton Ferry Landing and onto Wall Street's Pier 11.

"It's smooth and fast," said Ian Hudgins, 28, a Greenpoint resident who estimated the ferry saved him at least 20 minutes of travel to his job at a Sixth Avenue law firm.

During the weekday rush — when ferries run every 20 minutes — commuters at East 34th Street can connect to a free shuttle bus looping around 35th Street to Sixth Avenue, then up to 48th Street at Lexington Avenue, before heading back to the ferry landing.

Besides the seven regular stops, the ferry — operated by BillyBey Ferry Company with New York Waterway boats — will make two additional summer stops: to Governors Island on weekends and on Fridays to Atlantic Avenue's Pier 6, which is part of the new Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Once the fares kick in, the rides will cost $4 for a one-way, or $140 for an unlimited monthly pass.

The city is providing a $9.3 million subsidy over the next three years to help keep prices down during the program's pilot run.

The ferries will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekends. They will run every 30 minutes off-peak.

"The city's many new East River waterfront communities will greatly benefit from this new frequent ferry service between Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan," City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said in a statement.

"For commuters, residents and visitors, a robust waterborne transit service will blur the boundaries between our boroughs as never before."