More ferry service requested for waterfront

Posted at 8:45 AM, Mar 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-21 00:00:36-04

Getting from Buffalo's Inner Harbor to the Outer Harbor was no easy task two years ago. The introduction of water ferry service made it much easier last year. And as spring arrives this year, the push is on to make it a breeze.

Congressman Brian Higgins and New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan are calling for increased service to meet growing demand from people who want to explore Buffalo's waterfront.

The inaugural season of the Queen City Bike Ferry's service between the Inner and Outer Harbors carried 50,000 riders the short distance across the Buffalo River from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Higgins and Ryan expect that number to continue to grow and say additional capacity is needed.

In response, Robert Gioia, chairman of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, said expansion plans are already in the works.

"Because of the success the Queen City Bike Ferry enjoyed throughout the summer, many weeks ago we began to make plans to expand the service during peak times for the upcoming summer," Gioia said. "ECHDC initiated a capital improvement project to create a new and more efficient ferry landing on the Outer Harbor. That project, which is underway now, has a total budget of $825,000."

The ferry, which runs from the Commercial Slip to the Frist Buffalo Marina, can carry up to 49 passengers and 25 bicycles. The five to 10 minute trip costs one dollar each way.