NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- NYC Ferry is growing!
The service launched its fourth route, running from Astoria, Queens to Wall Street/Pier 11, making three stops along the way at Roosevelt Island, Long Island City and East 34th Street in Manhattan.
The first ferry left Hallets Cove in Astoria at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. Boats will run every 25 minutes during rush hours.
For many residents, the ferry service cuts their commute in half.
"This ferry service is another option for people who don't want to take the bus or a train, you get a beautiful scenic view of the city that we love, it's just all around a great thing," one longtime Astoria resident said.
The entire route takes about 45 minutes.
NYC Ferry has served over 1.5 million riders since launching May 1 and Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes it takes the pressure off city roads and the subway system.
"Our streets, our highways are too congested, the subway is getting more crowded, we want people to take advantage of what is a better way to get around, which is to ride on the water," he told 1010 WINS. "We're a city now of 8.5 million people, we're going to be 9 million people at some point in the not-so-distant future so we better come up with more ways to get around cause they're not building more subway lines. The MTA is not going to be expanding at this point we've gotta figure out other ways to get around."
Two more lines are expected to launch early next year.
"This is only the beginning and part of why I'm so enthusiastic about NYC Ferry is we're going to find out what the potential is," de Blasio said. "Once upon a time we didn't have the subways, they had to be built and they became part of what made this city great. We have the potential with ferry service to reach all over New York City and it's something we can add to very easily."
1010 WINS' Lee Harris asked the mayor about the system's long-term sustainability, noting that the ferry costs $2.75 per ride, but is subsidized at $6.60.
"All mass transit is subsidized, the fact is we need more capacity," de Blasio replied. "We've gotta figure out different and better options. Of course it's going to take subsidy to do that, but what's a better use of taxpayer dollars than helping people get around? If you can cut people's commute in half and get people off the roads that's good for the environment, that's good for everyone. That's what we should be spending tax payer dollars on."
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