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Partnership for New York City Endorses Mayor de Blasio’s Five-Borough Ferry Service Plan

Business Supports the Mayor’s Capital Commitment to Add Routes in Areas of City Lacking Public Transit

Wylde: Utilization of  Waterways to Supplement and Enhance Mass Transit System is Long Overdue

The Partnership for New York City, which represents the city’s largest private sector employers and business leaders, today endorsed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s five-borough ferry service plan. The Partnership has long argued for expanded ferry service as an efficient and cost-effective way to expand and improve access and mobility in the city, particularly in rapidly developing waterfront communities that are underserved by the current system. The Partnership supports the mayor’s capital commitment and plan to add routes in areas of the city currently lacking other public transit options.

“Ferries are a reliable way to deliver transit services to niche markets and locations where mass transit investments cannot be justified,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “At a time when the MTA suffers multi-billion dollar deficits, ferries are an increasingly necessary option for extending the reach of our transportation system.”

Expanded ferry service is vital to the health of the city’s transportation infrastructure and to its long-term economic growth. The average commute for city residents who use public transit is 48 minutes, one of the longest in the nation. Commute times are even worse for people working at many of the new centers of employment, like the Brooklyn Navy Yard, that are poorly served by the public transit system. Long commute times reduce the overall productivity of the city economy.

In its support of the five-borough ferry service plan, the Partnership noted other cities around the world, like Seattle, Sydney and Hong Kong, that have effectively demonstrated that modern, efficient ferry service can meet transit needs. The Partnership also noted the popularity of current ferry routes as justification for expanded service, as well as ferry service’s ability to be back up and running quickly following disasters. East River ferry ridership surpassed 1.7 million passengers in 2012, demonstrating the potential of this commute option, assuming adequate operating subsidies and intermodal connections. In the wake of 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy, ferries were the first mass transit option to be up and running and provided interim transportation for badly hit communities.