End of ferry leaves Rockaway a ‘transportation desert’

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ROCKAWAY, QUEENS (PIX11) — The last Rockaway ferry has set sail, despite pleas from residents who see it as a godsend.

For two years, Rockaway residents had been hoping that the ferry, instituted after superstorm Sandy as a temporary measure because the A Train wasn't running, would become permanent.

"Especially in the winter, when the A train and buses don 't run on schedule, the ferry would get me to work," Leslie Thornton, a Rockaway resident, told PIX11 News.

The city said the ferry was just too costly, and at $3.50 a ride it was being subsidized for close to $30 per trip. The city's Economic Development Corporation said ridership was way down, a 24 percent decrease from more than 1,000 daily trips last September to 827 this September.

"It's not just ridership, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo said. "The ferry is good for the economy of the Rockaways."

"The city found money to save Citi Bike, they can find money to save the ferry," said Public Advocate Letitia James. "Without the ferry, Rockaway is a transportation desert."

As the ferry operated by the private company SeaStreak pulled away from the temporary pier for the last time, there were hugs and tears and vows to bring the ferry back.

"By next Spring, I hope the ferry is back," said Assembly District Leader Lew Simon. "It is the key to Rockaway."