Just months after the city announced a far-reaching proposal to expand ferry service and subsidize boat operators until 2010, it looks like the plan has run aground again. Tom Fox, president of New York Water Taxi, told the Times that he has not been able to reach an agreement with the city about continuing a much-needed $900,000 per year subsidy. Without the government cash, which keeps him afloat during the winter when ridership plummets by 50 percent, he says he might be forced to cancel East River ferry service for the third time in four years.

In other bad ferry news, the city also revealed to the Times that its widely-touted plans to expand East River ferry service to the Northside of Williamsburg and Greenpoint will be delayed for at least a year until spring 2011, thanks to the recession. Though the city says it "is working with the City Council on both a short-term and long-term sustainable citywide ferry plan," ferry operators and riders fear that another winter service cancellation will make ferries seem even less reliable, further hurting their chances of becoming a viable commuting alternative.

Sources told the Times that if the water taxis attracted "a broader cross section of passengers" — and not just those who live in condo developments like those near the docks at Schaefer Landing in South Williamsburg and Long Island City — "they would feel more comfortable about putting money into a service."