NY Waterway marked its 30th anniversary last week, three decades after its modest revival of private ferry service to Manhattan with one boat.
From that first trip across the Hudson River with 26 passengers, the company — still operated by founder Arthur F. Imperatore — is now the largest privately owned and operated commuter ferry service, carrying more than 30,000 people daily with 31 ferries on 20 routes.
“Thanks to the dedicated men and women of NY Waterway and to our loyal customers, we have achieved this milestone, proving that a family-owned business can be a critical component of the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area’s mass transit system,” Imperatore said in a statement for the company’s Dec. 3 birthday.
The company invested $26 million in new ferries and equipment upgrades in 2016 — including improvements to its fleet of 80 buses that shuttle customers between the boats and other transit hubs.
“Our commitment to providing our customers a civilized commute — the hallmark of our business — remains as strong as ever,” Imperatore said. To mark the occasion, Imperatore hosted several long-time ferry customers — including some who rode on that first trip across the Hudson in December 1986 — for an informal reunion Nov. 30.
NY Waterway’s growth is ongoing as New York City is poised for a big expansion of ferry services across its five boroughs.
Citywide Ferry is gearing up for the first delivery of new 149-passenger ferries in spring 2017, with a launch of the subsidized public service with $2.75 one-way fares scheduled for June.
Meanwhile, Imperatore is making his own plans for expansion. The company this week said it will “announce several new major developments in the coming weeks.”