When US Airways Flight 1549 crash- (or splash-) landed in the Hudson River on January 15, the first boats to arrive and offer help were NY Waterway ferries, which ultimately took 142 of the 155 passengers and crew from the cold water. Now, the ferry company says it may go bankrupt by the end of the year. And, Crain's reports, "Its situation is so precarious that the company is preparing a lawsuit against US Airways to recoup the expenses it incurred during the rescue effort."
The ferry line's ridership has dropped 12% (February 2009 vs. February 2008) and its revenue has fallen by $800,000/month; also, its equipment loan isn't being renewed. CEO Arthur Imperatore Sr. says, “We are embattled" and tells Crain's that the company should be acquired by a public transit agency, like the Port Authority, since it's a mass transit option. And U.S. Coast Guard official Captain Robert O'Brien said, "They are generally the Good Samaritan that responds to any emergency on the water"—notably, during the 2003 blackout, NY Waterway transported 150,000 people out of Manhattan for free (that's over $500K in fares).
Riders want the company to stay open, but had different ways of conveying that to NY1: One said, "My ride is very convenient as it takes about eight minutes to get across the water. So I would hope that they don't go bankrupt," while another said, "I'm just tired of people crying bankruptcy and everything else. They just need to get a grip and get to work."