After considerable begging and pleading from Rockaway residents and politicians, the Bloomberg administration has announced that weekday ferry service between Manhattan and the Rockaway peninsula will continue for at least the next six weeks. The service, which began after Hurricane Sandy to compensate for a lack of subway service to the Rockaways, was expected to terminate now that A train service has finally been restored. Now the city says Seastreak will continue to operate to the Rockaways, with the addition of weekend service in July run by a different ferry company.
On an average weekday, the ferry moves 350 riders a day, taking about 35 minutes and shaving about an hour off Rockaway residents' commutes. If ridership remains strong, the city says it will be extended through Labor Day. Starting July 4th, "enhanced weekend service" between the Rockaways and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan will also begin with the addition of one service run in each direction every Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day. The weekend ferry will also stop at Beach 108th Street, in addition to Beach Channel Drive, so we'll definitely be loading up the cooler for beach trips once summer finally gets here.
One-way fares will remain $2.00 on weekdays and $30 roundtrp on weekends. According to the press release, the weekend service will be operated by TWFM Ferry Inc., which has been operating weekend service between Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan for the past several summers. The city "has agreed to assist in the expansion of this service by subsidizing an additional boat, which will allow for three morning runs from Manhattan to the Rockaways, as well as three return runs in the evenings."
Service on the weekends may be expanded or reduced depending on demand.