Press Releases

Hornblower Group Selected as Operator for NYC Ferry System

Hornblower Group, The Global Leader in Experiences and Transportation, To Continue To Provide Their Unmatched Maritime Industry Expertise For The NYC Ferry System And Build Off Success Of


New York, NY (August 8, 2023) – Hornblower Group announced today that it was selected by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) in the procurement of a new NYC Ferry operating contract. Building on its role as founding operator, Hornblower Group will continue to build on its successful track record of working alongside NYCEDC in supporting Mayor Adams’ NYC Ferry Forward Plan to further NYC Ferry’s position as the modern transportation system that riders want.

“We are proud to be selected by NYCEDC and the City of New York as we continue our partnership as the operator of NYC Ferry; providing millions of New Yorkers with a convenient, accessible, and affordable commuting option that connects both traditionally underserved transit deserts and local economic hubs across all five boroughs,” said Kevin Rabbitt, Chief Executive Officer, Hornblower Group. “As the founding operator of NYC Ferry in 2017, we look forward to building upon the achievements of the system’s record-setting success in a new phase, including implementing Mayor Adams’ Ferry Forward vision to create a more equitable and financially sustainable system. We proposed and look forward to executing an innovative long-term strategy for NYC Ferry that drives ridership among underserved communities, reduces operational costs, and maximizes value to city taxpayers. On behalf of Hornblower Group and the hundreds of devoted and exceptional NYC Ferry crewmembers, we thank NYCEDC and the City of New York for their ongoing collaboration and look forward to welcoming millions more riders onboard in the coming years.”

Among its plans, the new operating agreement will include major business improvements such as a framework to partner with a corporate name sponsor and further drive down the subsidy, upgraded ridership experiences like free onboard Wi-Fi, further establishment of NYC Ferry as a local maritime career pipeline and behind-the-scenes system upgrades to increase transparency and efficiency.

“On the heels of a record setting year and NYC Ferry’s highest ridership week ever, we’re thrilled to continue our long-term partnership with NYCEDC to operate and grow a reliable ferry system for everyday New Yorkers,” said Scott Thornton, Chief Operating Officer, Ferries and Transportation, Hornblower Group. “With more than 20 years of industry-leading experience, we continue to bring forward our highly-trained, local Crew with deeply rooted expertise and an unmatched reputation in the maritime industry. Over the last six years, the Crew at NYC Ferry moved more than 30 million riders, expanded our local crew to nearly 500 people, and built the nation’s leading commuter ferry system and we couldn’t have accomplished it without them. We look forward to continuing to collaborate the EDC and to create a responsive program that ensures together we can operate safely, consistently and dependably serving the City of New York.”

Over the last year, NYC Ferry Forward has delivered impressive results including:

  • Record breaking ridership with over 6.6 million riders served from August 2022-July 2023, 17 percent higher than the previous year and exceeding pre-pandemic levels;
  • Farebox revenue up more than $6 million with per passenger subsidy continuing to drive down dramatically and on track to be reduced by nearly 30 percent by 2025;
  • Transparency into the system has been transformed with the publication of NYC Ferry ridership on NYC Open Data and financial and subsidy information posted on NYCEDC’s website;
  • Equitable ferry access has improved through the launch of the NYC Ferry Discount ticket program and half-price tickets for Harbor School students;
  • New pilot routes including the Rockaway Rocket, Rockaway Reserve, and South Brooklyn Faster Connections, which deliver more transit options to riders, while reducing costs to the system.

“Thanks to Mayor Adams’ leadership and the Ferry Forward Plan, ridership is at an all-time high while access and affordability have been enhanced,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “By partnering with Hornblower, we will bring NYC Ferry to its next phase with even more onboard amenities, while continuing to bring down costs and increase revenue.”

NYC Ferry provides New Yorkers a dependable way to commute and connect in all 5 boroughs. For more information, visit


About Hornblower Group

Hornblower Group is a global leader in experiences and transportation. Hornblower Group’s corporate businesses are comprised of three premier experience divisions: American Queen Voyages®, its overnight cruising division; City Experiences, its land and water-based experiences as well as ferry and transportation services; and Journey Beyond, Australia’s leading experiential travel group. Spanning a 100-year history, Hornblower Group’s portfolio of international offerings includes water-based experiences (dining and sightseeing cruises), land-based experiences (walking tours, food tours and excursions), overnight experiences (cruises and railways) and ferry and transportation services. Hornblower Marine, a subsidiary of Hornblower Group, provides vessel outhaul and maintenance services at Bridgeport Boatworks in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Seaward Services, Inc., a marine services company specializing in the operation, maintenance and repair of government and privately owned vessels, is also a subsidiary of Hornblower Group, operating and maintaining U.S. Navy Ranges and port facilities, including local oil spill response.  Additionally, Anchor Operating System, LLC, a subsidiary of Hornblower Group and independent entity, provides reservation, ticketing and website integration services for clients in the transportation, tourism and entertainment industries. Today, Hornblower Group’s global portfolio covers 114 countries and territories, 125 U.S. cities and serves more than 30 million guests annually. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Hornblower Group’s additional corporate offices reside in Adelaide, Australia; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; London, United Kingdom; New York, New York; Dublin, Ireland; and across Ontario, Canada.  For more information visit