Citing popularity, mayor announces major investment in New York City ferry system

BAY RIDGE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $300 million increase in funding for the NYC Ferry system over the next few years, citing higher projected ridership.

"New Yorkers have spoken," he said. "We're going to need bigger boats. We're gearing up to meet the extraordinary demand for more public transit on our waterways."

Original projections predicted 4.6 million riders, but new numbers show that demand could reach 9 million by 2023.

The money will be going to expanding the ferry fleet, a second homeport to house and maintain the expanded fleet, and infrastructure improvements to docks and barges.

The NYC Ferry system launched May 2017 and currently has four routes connecting Rockaway, Astoria, Williamsburg and South Brooklyn to Manhattan. Two new routes will be introduced this summer in Soundview in the Bronx and on the Lower East Side.

According to figures, the system had 3.7 million passengers in its first year.

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