Via Curbed, a report from blogger Brooklyn 11211 that New York Water Taxi is suspending East River ferry service for the winter effective 1/1/08 and will resume in the spring. From New York Water Taxi:
New York Water Taxi regretfully announces the suspension of commuter service on the East River from 1/1/08 to 5/1/08. As you may know, NYWT took over the service in 2003, on short notice, when it was abandoned by another operator. We have added new stops and worked tirelessly to make the run economically viable.I agree with Brooklyn 11211 that:
This year, for the first time, the service broke even during the spring, summer and fall when tourists used the commuter service for sightseeing and visitors traveling to and from Water Taxi Beach.
However, fuel prices have doubled since the beginning of 2007 and during the winter months ridership on the East River commuter service decreases approximately 30%. Therefore, it is not economically viable to operate the service during the winter months. We apologize for the inconvenience that this service suspension will undoubtedly cause. NYWT will resume the service on May 1, 2008.
From a practical point of view, ferries and water taxis are of limited appeal to most commuters. They are expensive ($5 each way from Schaefer to Wall Street), and unless you live and work near the waterfront, require another $2 for a subway or bus.And:
The City could make the water taxi a bit more appealing by providing subsidies, or by providing MetroCard transfers to eliminate the double fare hit.Roosevelt Island ferry service is certainly no panacea to our transportation infrastructure problems but it will certainly help, particularly, as speculated by Roosevelt Island 360, in the event of an emergency when both the subway and tram are out of service.
Roosevelt Island ferry service could also be a component of an East River ferry commuter service with stops on the Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island, Midtown East, United Nations, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Dumbo, Wall Street and Red Hook. A well thought out East River Ferry commuter ferry system combining metro card service and public transportation subsidies (here is a 2005 report by Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance on subject) could provide waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan (which includes Roosevelt Island by the way) a transportation option similar to that available to residents of Seattle which has a wonderful commuter ferry service.
Seattle even has a ten year ferry passenger strategy report. Imagine that!
Image is from Brooklyn 11211 via Gowanus Lounge.