Long Island Rail Road customers who chose the ferries to and from Glen Cove for their commutes Monday didn’t have a ton of company — and most seemed happy with their decision.
In addition, starting Tuesday they’ll get free transfers in the morning to the M34-SBS bus to Penn Station, the MTA announced.
With perfect boating weather, just 39 people took the 6:10 a.m. ferry to Wall Street/Pier 11 Monday, officials said. The MTA had said it could carry 149 commuters. About 52 hopped on the 6:35 a.m. for the 70-minute trip to 34th Street, which left about 5 minutes late and had a capacity of 225, the MTA said.
Coming home, the 6:20 Manhattan to Glen Cove ferry left 19 minutes late with 56 passengers.
Glen Head commuter Bobby Reider, 58, was sold. “It was so much fun. It was like being on vacation on my way to work,” he said of the Glen Cove ferry.
While it usually takes him 40 minutes to get to work traveling on the Port Washington line to Penn Station, Reider said the views of Manhattan and weather made this commute much better.
“I didn’t mind how long it took because it was beautiful outside,” said Reider, a garment manufacturer.
On his trip home, Roslyn commuter Peter Wagner called the Glen Cove ferry “a nice diversion.”
“It breaks up the monotony of riding the train and driving,” said Wagner, 60, an investment adviser. “I would’ve thought there would have been more people. I left really early thinking I would have a hard time parking.”
Oyster Bay resident Natalie Planes, 33, said she couldn’t think of a better way to get to work. “I grew up in Sydney, Australia, riding the ferry,” she said. Planes, a gymnastics director in Manhattan, said the ferry is an “awesome, fabulous idea.”
Not everyone was so excited. Glen Cove computer programmer Neil Nelanuthala, 22, commutes to Hoboken, New Jersey, each morning. He normally takes the Oyster Bay LIRR to Jamaica to Penn Station, then walks to the PATH train. On Monday, he caught the ferry to 34th Street. “It’s a test run. If I like it, I’ll continue to ride,” he said.
By the time Nelanuthala headed home, the round-trip had put a damper on his commute. “Like most forms of the MTA, it’s understaffed and behind schedule,” he said.
MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said he wouldn’t be surprised if the usage level increases. “I’m sure when the folks who took the ferry tell their friends how great it was, we may see more going out. Today is Day 1. Let’s see how patterns change over the week,” Lhota said.
Once they departed the ferry at 34th Street in the morning, most commuters scurried to Ubers, taxis and buses. Those heading to Penn Station could get there in about 5 minutes on the M34-SBS bus, but they needed to pay the $2.75 fare.
News 12 Long Island reported that about 20 commuters initially got on the NYC Ferry shuttle bus across the street, hoping to head into midtown. They were told they couldn’t ride it and needed to get on the M34 instead, and many were unhappy the transfer wasn’t free, News 12 reported.
Monday afternoon, the MTA announced it will cross honor M34 SBS bus fares for Glen Cove ferry riders heading to midtown starting Tuesday.
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) also took the 6:35 a.m. ferry to a meeting in Manhattan. “It’s convenient if you’re going to midtown,” Suozzi said. “I feel like I’m on a cruise ship.”