LONG ISLAND CITY — Hornblower, the San Francisco-based company selected to run the Citywide Ferry Service that's slated to launch next summer, has started taking over operations of the East River Ferry, according to officials.
The company — which was chosen in March over several other bidders to operate the new citywide service — started integrating the existing East River Ferry routes into its service over the weekend, a spokesman for the company said.
The change won't impact current fares or schedules, though riders can expect the East River Ferry's automatic ticket machines to be down for the next few weeks, as Hornblower plans to upgrade the machinery.
Riders will be able to buy tickets online, in-person onboard the ferries or at their station landings instead, according to the company.
"Hornblower is supporting NYCEDC and the prior operator of East River Ferry (ERF) in transitioning all ERF routes into the Citywide Ferry Service," Hornblower spokesman Joshua Knoller said in a statement.
"Part of that transition also includes infrastructure upgrades, such as replacing all the automated ticketing machines. Ferry riders will notice little to no impact during the transition period."
The East River Ferry's former operator, NY Waterway, declined to comment on the service change.
The move is the latest step towards the launch of Citywide Ferry Service, which is expected to start running in June of 2017, with trips costing $2.75 each way — the same as the cost of MetroCard swipe.
Existing East River Ferry routes will be incorporated in the new system, which will also include five new routes, the first of which will service Astoria, Rockaway and south Brooklyn.
Hornblower which runs dinner cruises and charter boats on the city's waterways, was previously criticized for contracting ticket resale companies that employed aggressive ticket sellers, some of whom had criminal backgrounds.
The company cut ties with the problematic sellers this summer following a DNAinfo New York story detailing the practice.