ROCKAWAY PARK — Dozens of evening commuters waiting to ride the NYC Ferry were stranded on the dock for an hour at the height of the evening rush after "unexpectedly high" ridership on its first day meant there wasn't enough room for them on the 5:30 p.m. boat home.
The new Rockaway route of the service saw 1,828 riders on the first day, according to a tweet from NYC Ferry. Combined with the East River route it took over Monday from the East River Ferry, the new NYC Ferry service served more than 6,400 riders its first day.
Hundreds more took it in the evening through the last boat leaving Wall Street at 8:30 p.m.
Dozens of riders were left standing on the Wall Street dock as the 5:30 p.m. boat filled up fast, leaving them to wait for an hour for the next one.
Francis Reynolds, 37, who was among the approximately 50 passengers turned away from the 5:30 p.m. boat, said the city should have planned better for the evening rush.
"Obviously there is high ridership on the 5:30 ferry because most people get out of work at 5," he told DNAinfo Tuesday morning, adding that it was "disappointing" to have to wait.
Still, Reynolds said his hour-long wait was still "much better than the A train," he said.
"My boyfriend got the A train at around 6 at Canal Street and beat me home by 5 minutes, so it's still better service than the A train," he said. "I'm happy even if the service isn't perfect yet."
The service, touted by Mayor Bill de Blasio as a new era in the city's transportation, is still working out some of its kinks.The WiFi on board wasn't ready Monday but officials said it is expected to arrive in a few weeks. On at least one of the two boats traveling on the Rockaway, Sunset Park and Wall Street route, the bathroom was clogged sporadically from as early as 10:30 a.m.
On the final boat back, the bar ran out of beer, other riders said.
The transition of the East River Ferry to the NYC Ferry service also hit rough waters.
A mechanical issue knocked one boat briefly out of service during the morning rush, stranding dozens more along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront.
Officials say they plan to work out these issues, especially on the Rockaway route, before the busy summer season.
And for many riders, it still beats the alternative.
Michelle Doyle, 60, said anything's better than the A train between her home in Rockaway Park and job in Lower Manhattan.
"It's fabulous," she said of the boat.