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Citywide Ferry Unveils Quieter Horns After Uproar From Waterfront Residents

By Gwynne Hogan | June 26, 2017 10:49am
 The NYC Ferry service begins May 1.
The NYC Ferry service begins May 1.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

WILLIAMSBURG — They got the message loud and clear. 

The New York City Citywide Ferry has switched the horns it uses while reversing to lower-pitched, rear-facing horning in response to an outcry from waterfront residents that the shrill ferry horns were waking them up at all hours of the morning and night.

The citywide ferry run by Hornblower started using the new horns over the weekend, according to Joshua Knoller, a spokesman for the company. 

"NYC Ferry heard from community members loud and clear, concerns relating to excess noise levels coming from our horns," Knoller said. "As promised and as part of our commitment to enhancing overall quality of service, we recently completed the installation of new, rear-facing and lower decibel horns across our entire fleet."

Marios Koufaris, 46, a waterfront Williamsburg resident, who'd earlier described the shrill ferry horns as the kind of sound designed to elicit panic, said he'd noticed lower-pitched and more muted horns over the weekend.

"They don't wake us up in the morning," he said. "We're definitely relieved."

The citywide ferry service, which launched in May, shuttles between 8,000 and 12,000 riders on an average weekday.

The service has had far higher-than-anticipated ridership, sometimes sparking long lines, full boats and delays. Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to respond to the demand by adding more boats or bigger boats by the end of the year.

By Thursday the citywide Ferry Service had already carted 500,000 riders since its launch, a milestone the city's Economic Development Corporation had expected to reach by the end of July.

To hear the high-pitched horns the boats first used when citywide ferry service began in May, check the video below: