The Cross-Bay Ferry could return as soon as November. It's second season run wrapped up at the end of April.
The 149-passenger ferry – which has operated from November through April – takes riders back and forth between St. Petersburg’s North Straub Park by the Vinoy Hotel to Port Tampa Bay near the Florida Aquarium.
“We hope and anticipate that it comes back in November,” St. Petersburg Transportation Director Evan Mory said.
Ridership numbers increased to 52,528 riders for the second season from November 2018 through April 2019. It beat the Cross-Bay Ferry’s first pilot run when it had 40,854 riders from November 2016 through April 2017.
The ferry skipped the November 2017-April 2018 season.
The Florida Department of Transportation has contributed money to last two more seasons. The governments of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties must come to an agreement for the service to return.
The four governments each contributed $350,000 in the first pilot run. Mory said the governments received about $35,000 after the first pilot run.
For the second run, they each contributed $150,000. Mory wasn’t sure how much money each government would receive back, but it would probably be less than $35,000.
Mory said he would know by this summer if the ferry will return in November.
The Cross-Bay Ferry won’t become a permanent service until at least 2022, according to last month’s announcement by HMS Ferries Inc. and South Swell Development Corp. There are plans to expand ferry service to include South Hillsborough County and MacDill Air Force Base.
The total cost of the proposed ferry is estimated at $36.5 million. The partnership businesses would cover around one-third of the cost.
When it operates, the Cross-Bay Ferry costs riders:
- $8 for adults
- $5 for seniors, military (active/retired) and college students with an ID
- $3 for children ages 5-18
- Free for children ages 4 and younger
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