The Rockaway ferry service put in place after Hurricane Sandy washed out the peninsula’s main public transportation link, the A line, will continue into the winter.
The route, operated by Seastreak, was due to end its service between Beach 108th Street and Manhattan on Labor Day weekend, but the city announced Wednesday that it will extend Seastreak’s contract to operate the ferry service through Jan. 31.
“As a Rockaway resident, I’m excited,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), who has been fighting to make the ferry service permanent.
The city contracted Seastreak to run the service to the Rockaways last year when the A train was shut down. The subway reopened in May, but the ferry continued through the summer, being extended twice. It runs from a dock at Beach 108th Street, across the street from a vacant lot used for free parking. Since the closure of the R train under the East River a few weeks ago, the ferry has added a stop at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park.
In late June, Goldfeder delivered hundreds of signatures from Rockaway to City Hall — traveling there on the ferry — demanding the service remain permanently.
Last week, Mayor Bloomberg said he supported ferry service, but expressed concern about the viability of the route through the winter when the weather is colder and the waters off the Rockaways are more rough. The service extension will also serve as an experiment to see if the ferry can run through the winter months.
“It’s up to the next mayor now to make the commitment to keep the service,” Goldfeder said, noting the expiration date for the Seastreak contract is after a new administration takes office.
Goldfeder, who has been openly critical of Bloomberg’s response to Sandy, praised his work on keeping the ferry operating.
“I don’t say this very often, but I commend Mayor Bloomberg on his commitment to bringing better transportation options to the Rockaways,” he added.