Born on the bayou: NYC ferry fleet builds for summer launch

FRANKLIN, La. (AP and staff) — Shipyards on the bayous of Alabama and Louisiana are scrambling to finish New York City’s new ferry fleet in time for a summer launch.

New York’s mayor first proposed the 20 new, high-tech catamarans a little more than a year ago as a way to offer more transportation options between Manhattan and budding waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

The first two passenger vessels built by Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark for New York’s new Citywide Ferry Service were placed on the water, after being splashed at Metal Shark’s Franklin, Louisiana in late February.

Metal Shark plans were to deliver two of the New York ferries per month from March through May.

The first of the $4 million vessels arrived in New York in early April after a two-week trip up the East Coast from an Alabama shipyard.

City officials are expecting the $335 million ferry service to record as many as 4.6 million rides a year.

By comparison, subway passengers take about 5.7 million rides on weekdays.