Over the last year, the number of passengers using area ferries has risen almost 50 percent. To keep up with the demand, NY Waterway is adding a new weekend ferry service from Hoboken at 13th Street and from Newport in Jersey City to Chelsea Piers.
The new route was scheduled to begin Saturday Aug. 3. To launch the its newest route, NY Waterway was offering free service on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4. Ferries were slated to depart every half-hour on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ferry stops in Newport on the half-hour, arrives in Hoboken 10 minutes later, and at Chelsea Piers 10 minutes after that.
NY Waterway President and CEO Arthur E. Imperatore said this week that he believes that the new route will give Jersey City and Hoboken residents the opportunity to use the popular facilities at Chelsea Piers.
Located in the heart of Manhattan Chelsea Piers offers recreational activities including a 200-yard golf driving range, a 40-lane bowling alley, two indoor ice skating rinks, a health and fitness club that offers day passes, an in-line skating rink, a skateboard and BMX park, batting cages, a gymnastics training center, and restaurants. "We're delighted to be able to offer New Jersey residents an easy way to get to one of New York's best places to play," said Imperatore. "By ferry, [Chelsea Piers] is just a scenic 10-minute ride from Hoboken."
Dana Thayer, senior vice-president of Chelsea Piers, said Monday that that the new routes are welcome.
"We're thrilled that our partnership with NY Waterway will provide New Jersey residents with convenient transportation to New York's premier recreational facility," said Thayer.
Since Sept. 11, there has been a fundamental shift in the area's transportation focus. In December, the Port Authority set aside $550 million to restore PATH service from Jersey City and Hoboken to Manhattan's financial district by 2003.
But without underground service and with an infusion of an estimated 32,000 new daily passengers to Jersey City because of the attacks, a newfound emphasis has been placed on the area's ferry service between the Hudson waterfront and Manhattan.
The number of commuters taking ferries has exploded. According to NY Waterway officials, the ferry company has been transporting more than 60,000 commuters daily since Sept. 11. Before the disaster, only approximately 32,000 passengers used the ferry daily.
Marcus Crenshaw, who rides the ferry to downtown Manhattan every workday, said Wednesday that ferries have gone from the periphery to the forefront of transportation options.
"Before, it was something that you might do on a nice day. It was something different," he said. "Now it's a staple, something that people like me are dependent on." He added it makes sense that NY Waterway is now expanding its weekend service. "Now that people are taking [ferries] to work it only makes sense that they will start taking them to their leisure activities."