Ferry advocates condemn Mayor de Blasio


Rockaway Beach ferry

Photo courtesy of Linda Deckelman

Chanting “No ferry, no votes!” a group of Rockaway residents last night condemned Mayor de Blasio’s failure to renew funding for the Manhattan-bound waterborne service.

The raucous group of more than 100 residents gathered at the Beach 108th Street dock, joined by Public Advocate Letitia James, to greet the final run of the Seastreak ferry. Residents and local officials had been hoping for a last-minute reprieve for the ferry after several weeks of lobbying the Mayor. Commuters are angry that they now have to contend with unreliable subway and bus service.

Mayor de Blasio and other critics have charged that the subsidy of $30 per passenger was too steep.

“It’s a sad day,” said James. “The Mayor has an opportunity to turn this around. There are viable solutions to find funding. He found funds to save Citibike. It comes down to priorities.”

“The residents of Rockaway contribute much more than $5 million to the economy, they need to get it back.”

As the last passengers disembarked, some dressed in Halloween costumes, the rally took on a festive air. However, loud chants of “Say no to de Blasio,” show that the Mayor is not viewed favorably in Rockaway, which is still recovering form Hurricane Sandy.

The ferry was launched as a stopgap measure after the hurricane destroyed a stretch of A train tracks in 2012. It quickly became popular with residents and summer tourists alike. The city has renewed temporary funding four times, even though A train service was restored in the summer of 2013.