Rockaway ferry expects spike in ridership ahead of LIRR strike

Seastreak says service to NYC a good alternative for Long Beach, Five Towns commuters


With thousands of commuters facing a possible strike this Sunday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that in addition to an existing ferry service in Rockaway, it will run a free ferry service in Glen Cove as part of its alternative transportation plan.

Traveling to Glen Cove is hardly convenient for South Shore residents, of course, so Rockaway resident and activist Joe Hartigan is encouraging commuters from the Long Beach barrier island, the Five Towns and other nearby communities to take advantage of the Seastreak ferry service in Rockaway, which takes approximately 50 minutes to get to lower Manhattan. Many people, he said, are unaware of the service, which is about a 30-minute car ride from Long Beach City Hall.

“There are quite a few people on the ferry from Long Beach — this is the most convenient route to lower Manhattan,” said Hartigan, a retired FDNY lieutenant who has advocated for the ferry service for more than a decade. “This is the best kept secret for the people of Long Beach, especially if there is a strike.”

Long Beach resident Sean Regan, 37, drives to his job in Queens but occasionally takes the ferry to Manhattan, and also said it is a great way to commute to the city if there is a strike.

“A friend of mine takes it into Manhattan on a regular basis and he loves it — it’s a good way to unwind,” he said. “People in Long Beach are considering it as an option if there is a strike; the MTA is going to put buses out there but who knows how backed up those are going to be? The waterway is not going to be backed up all.”

The Seastreak ferry, which departs from Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive, was launched in 2012 as a partnership between the New York City Economic Development Corporation — which subsidizes the service — in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It initially provided temporary ferry service between the Rockaways and Manhattan, while subway service on that route was suspended due to the storm.

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