transport

Ferryboats Change the Landscape in New York City

New York has always been a hub for water transport, but that tradition is now taking a major new step.
30 January, 2017
This summer, New Yorkers will have the most comprehensive commuter ferry service the city has seen in a century – and aluminium plays the starring role.
Because Manhattan is an island and the city's five boroughs all sit on rivers, ferries have always played a role in transportation. The iconic Staten Island ferry has its roots in the 18th century, and has remained in service long after the rest of a previous ferry network was phased out. Today, it handles 70,000 passengers a day, and in 2011 the city added the East River Ferry services to serve Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

That new network saw passenger traffic increase 8 percent last year, with more than 1.58 million trips taken. Yet that is nothing compared with what's coming in 2017, when Citywide Ferry takes off with 19 new aluminium vessels, six routes and 21 landings designed to connect all boroughs of the city together.

"This growing demand is one of the reasons we're expanding ferry service citywide in 2017," says Maria Torres-Springer, the CEO of New York City's Economic Development Corporation. "We're very excited to incorporate the East River route into Citywide Ferry Service, and connect New Yorkers from Soundview to the Rockaways for the price of a subway ride."

Image: inhabitat.com
Image: Timeout
The Citywide Ferry project is meant to be a signature achievement of the mayor, who wants more ferry options in parts of the city with growing populations.

There has been a scale model of the 150-capacity ferryboat on display at the Queens libraries, to give New Yorkers a look at the innovative design. It is the real boats, however, built in collaboration with the Hornblower and Metal Shark companies in Louisiana, that promise to deliver results with a sustainable transport solution meant to be a lifestyle experience.
The ferries are primarily built of aluminium to maximize their fuel efficiency while keeping them as safe as they are lightweight. That means a lot of aluminium, and the fleet of 19 vessels is equal to more than 77 million beverage cans. An innovative hull design helps to boost fuel efficiency too, while minimizing the boat's wake. The fleet uses ultra-efficient engines to reduce emissions and further lower its carbon footprint.

Passengers will indeed pay the same subway rate, and are encouraged to bring their bikes on board for a simple $1 in additional fees. Because the boats are 85 feet long, they offer more space for passengers than some of the traditional ferries do. The vessels also offer amenities like on-board Wifi access.
The ferries are primarily built of aluminium to maximize their fuel efficiency while keeping them as safe as they are lightweight. That means a lot of aluminium, and the fleet of 19 vessels is equal to more than 77 million beverage cans. An innovative hull design helps to boost fuel efficiency too, while minimizing the boat's wake. The fleet uses ultra-efficient engines to reduce emissions and further lower its carbon footprint.

Passengers will indeed pay the same subway rate, and are encouraged to bring their bikes on board for a simple $1 in additional fees. Because the boats are 85 feet long, they offer more space for passengers than some of the traditional ferries do. The vessels also offer amenities like on-board Wifi access.
They also sport heated decks, which are key to customer comfort in the cold, snowy winter months but also add to the overall resilience and durability of the vessels. For summer, that lifestyle commitment is reflected on the routes to the Rockaway beaches, which will be equipped to store surfboards on board. The three boats serving the Rockaways also have bigger engines because they navigate rougher waters.

It costs nearly $4 million to build each of the catamaran ferries, but the investment in a sustainable urban transport solution is a smart one that is also being pursued in Cote d'Ivoire and other countries around the globe. In Abidjan, where population density is rapidly growing, taking advantage of the water ways to reduce traffic congestion and pollution is a sign of things to come – and that is equally true in New York as well.