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Citywide Ferry Service Won't Start Until Summer 2017

By Katie Honan | October 20, 2015 9:00am
 An operator for the citywide ferry will be selected this winter, city officials said. But the first phase of the citywide ferry service isn't expected to launch until summer 2017.
An operator for the citywide ferry will be selected this winter, city officials said. But the first phase of the citywide ferry service isn't expected to launch until summer 2017.
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Flickr/otto-yamamoto

ROCKAWAY BEACH — Despite an "extremely aggressive" timeline, the city's proposed multi-borough ferry system isn't likely to launch until the summer of 2017, officials said.

The first portion of the service, which includes the Rockaway peninsula, South Brooklyn and Astoria, was expected to begin operating in 2017, as highlighted by Mayor Bill de Blasio's State of the City speech last February.

However, officials recently clarified that the service won't begin until halfway through the year.

"We don't expect to have everything we need to provide service in the first part of 2017," said an official with the Economic Development Corporation, who briefed reporters on details of the plan last week.

They've been working with an "extremely aggressive" timeline, officials said, but pushing the launch until the late spring or summer also offers more potential riders.

"We want to launch this during a successful period in which there's higher ridership," said James Foot, of the EDC. "Winter has been a lot tougher to get the ridership. We've learned that with the East River Ferry."

EDC officials said they will select a ferry operator in the coming months, and will continue accepting public comments in February 2016.

The barges for the ferry docks will be built on Staten Island, and Skanska has been selected as the construction manager, officials said 

Most of the docks around the city will be outfitted with waiting areas, although restrooms would most likely only be on the boats.