Artist’s rendition of Beach 108 Street ferry landing. Service will begin May 1.

What would you name one of the new ferryboats coming into service on the Rockaway run next month?

How about if you were a second-grader.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation asked second grade classes – none of them in Rockaway – to come up with names and the first five are in.

Friendship Express, Sunset Crossing, Urban Journey, Waves of Wonder and Lunchbox. Those are the names. What else would you expect from a second grader, a seven-year-old?

Not a Rockaway-themed name in the mix.

The ferry service has far more problems than the names of the boats, locals say. First of all, parking at the former National Grid site across the street will cost $8 bucks a day, almost three times as much as the ferry ride will cost. Many locals believe that the cost is prohibitive, even when you factor in the fact that a monthly pass will cost $100 bucks, about four dollars a day on the average.

“The lot was free when the ferry ran two years ago,” said one Rockaway commuter who asked not to be named. “The cost is going to take lots of locals out of the game. Some will use the free shuttle bus, but many will decide to stick with the subway or the express bus instead. You can pick the express bus up on your corner and take it all the way into midtown for less money.”

In addition, opponents of the plan say, the parking lot will be open to all, not simply to the ferry riders. That will create a situation during the summer where motorists will park for the beach, closing the lot to ferry-riders.

The same problem exists with the shuttle buses, those opponents say. People will use the free shuttle buses to move around the peninsula, taking up vital seats that might have been used by ferry riders.

“They should make you buy a ferry ticket on the bus before you can get on board,” one local said on social media. “That way you can guarantee that the rider is going to the ferry and not just shopping on Beach 129 Street.”

The EDC has rejected that idea. Ferry tickets will be sold at the Beach 108 Street terminal.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced two weeks ago that Citywide Ferry Service, now officially named “NYC Ferry,” will be launching May 1st with two routes: the brand new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route, both of which will cost just $2.75 a ride and include free transfers to other ferry routes. This puts NYC Ferry a full month ahead of schedule, with the system having initially been projected to launch in June of 2017.

Mayor de Blasio also announced that the South Brooklyn Route, with stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park will begin service starting on June 1st. The Astoria Route will launch in August, with exact date still being determined, and the Lower East Side and Soundview Routes will be launching in 2018.

“Rockaway residents have some of the longest commute times in the city. We promised we’d bring them our new NYC Ferry service first, and today we’re delivering on that promise. Best of all, our first NYC Ferry will set sail May 1 – a full month ahead of schedule,” de Blasio said.

With 20 vessels operating at 22 landings across New York City, NYC Ferry will carry an estimated 4.6 million trips per year across six routes – providing a new and easily accessible transit option for traditionally underserved communities and where jobs and housing are growing rapidly. Several of those landings, including the Rockaways, are nearly complete. The first of the new vessels arrived in New York Harbor this week, with more boats scheduled to depart shipyards in Louisiana and Alabama in the coming weeks.

“We’re excited to introduce our new name, NYC Ferry, which complements our new vessels and exciting new connections in New York Harbor. The Rockaway Route and East River Route will launch May 1st,” said Cameron Clark, Senior Vice President for NYC Ferry, operated by Hornblower. “With regular, reliable service on our comfortable vessels, including world-class concessions, all at the same price as a single subway ride, NYC Ferry, operated by Hornblower, will be the newest and easiest way to “work, live, play” for millions of New Yorkers and visitors alike. Get out and explore your New York.”

“The NYC Ferry will provide fast and affordable transportation to tens of thousands of Queens residents,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Queens is pleased with the accelerated start date for the Rockaway route, which has long been underserved by traditional mass transit. The revised service hours are a direct result of the city’s consideration of the community’s significant input and insights on its needs. By this time next month, the future of transportation will be up and running.”

“We’re very excited that plans have come together to start ferry service earlier than expected,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich. “We’re especially thankful to hear the news that the EDC has been receptive to the concerns of my constituents with regard to scheduling an additional early trip which will allow so many hard working people in the construction trades the opportunity to use this service.”

“As Co-Chairs of Community Board 14 Transportation Committee, we are very pleased and excited that the Rockaway Ferry Service will be starting ahead of schedule,” said Danny Ruscillo and Marty Ingram, Co-Chairs of the CB 14 Transportation Committee. “This is a form of transportation which has always been needed, we are sure many will utilize this delightful form of transportation.”

“Our community is very appreciative of the efforts of Mayor de Blasio and the EDC in bringing ferry service to the Rockaways. We have always felt that our waterways were an untapped resource for transportation in New York City. In particular we are grateful that our concerns were heard and the first ferry will depart Rockaway at 5:30 a.m. enabling our trades workers and city employees to arrive in Manhattan for their 7:00am shifts. The ferry beginning on May 1st, a month earlier than scheduled, will give all New Yorkers the opportunity to experience the new ferry service,” said Dolores Orr, Chair of Community Board 14

Construction is currently underway on a homeport at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 56,000-square-foot maintenance and storage facility that will include berthing space for 25 boats, supplies and parts, and utilities, including a 40,000-gallon diesel fueling system. It will provide routine maintenance including exterior and interior cleaning, restocking of food and beverage items, fueling and basic repairs. It will be fully outfitted by early 2018, enabling passenger service to an additional stop on the East River route between South Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The first boat is already en route for testing and is scheduled to arrive in April. City second-graders are diligently researching names for the new boats (in the running: “Lunchbox” and “Friendship Express”).

When service does launch, rides will cost $2.75, but fares won’t be integrated with the MTA’s fare payment model—meaning that riders won’t get a free transfer from boat to subway.

Each vessel will have free Wi-Fi, USB charging stations and a concession stand stocked with beer. The first phase of service will launch the Rockaway, Astoria and South Brooklyn routes.

The second phase will bring another two routes online, the Soundview and Lower East Side, and will launch in 2018.

  “We asked second graders from schools near Citywide Ferry landings to propose names for our new boats,” said EDC President James Patchett in a statement. “These are kids who have been studying New York civic history, so we got both some really cute and creative names—like Lunchbox and Friendship Express—and some ideas that reference the rich maritime history of our city. We’re very excited to finalize names and announce them soon.”

When service does launch, rides will cost $2.75, but fares won’t be integrated with the MTA’s fare payment model—meaning that riders won’t get a free transfer from boat to subway.

Each vessel will have free Wi-Fi, USB charging stations and a concession stand stocked with beer. The first phase of service will launch the Rockaway, Astoria and South Brooklyn routes. The second phase will bring another two routes online, the Soundview and Lower East Side, and will launch in 2018.