The Rockaway Ferry may be slated to end in two months, but residents, civic leaders and elected officials from the peninsula are not yet defeated.
Supporters took their fight right to the steps of City Hall, as they have before when the service started after Hurricane Sandy was in jeopardy.
The route, operated by Seastreak, is due to shut down Oct. 31. The city said it could not sustain the more than $30 per passenger subsidy required to keep the ferry, which costs each passenger $3 for a one-way ride, afloat.
But officials said the ferry is vital to Rockaway’s development and is a much-needed link for commuters to get to Manhattan.
“The ferry has been a lifeline for our families and small businesses after Sandy and it must remain permanent,”said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), who has traveled to City Hall at least once before to fight for the ferry — in June 2013 with petitions for then-Mayor Bloomberg to keep the service permanent.
Borough President Melinda Katz attended the rally and called for service to not only be saved, but expanded to include weekends.
“Borough President Katz believes weekend service would increase the number of people who visit the Rockaways’ wonderful beaches and patronize its waterfront businesses,” Katz spokesman Michael Scholl said in a statement.
“Yesterday’s Rockaway Ferry rally at City Hall showed many things to Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration, most notably that in tough times we will always come together as a community and also we will not back down,” state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said in a statement last Friday. “I have said it before and will continue to say it – in a budget of $75 billion, the city could and should allocate funds needed to make the ferry service permanent seven days a week. Traditionally, the isolated Rockaway Peninsula is ignored and oftentimes ostracized from the rest of the city, but we will continue to take a stand. Make the Rockaways a part of the city, include us in the city budget.”
The ferry route connects Beach 108th Street to Wall Street with a stop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn that was added in the spring to coincide with the R train’s six-month shutdown under the East River in order to repair a tunnel damaged in Hurricane Sandy.
The ferry is scheduled to shut down when that service reopens.