ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay area city and county leaders tested out the new Cross-Bay Ferry Tuesday morning.
The ferry departed from the Vinoy Basin on its maiden voyage, taking invitation-only passengers from downtown St. Petersburg to the Tampa Convention Center.
“A lot of people in Tampa Bay have never tried something like this, as opposed to a New York or a Seattle, where it’s quite common,” said Richard Mullins, spokesman for Cross-Bay Ferry.
Officials from St. Peterburg and local county governments were on board the Provincetown IV. The 98-foot long vessel can carry 149 guests and has indoor and outdoor seating.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman pushed for the ferry earlier this year. “We’ve really needed to do something; we can’t just rely on cars for transportation,” Kriseman said.
The six-month pilot program will start with two trips Sunday through Friday and three trips on Saturday.
One-way tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Kids under age 3 can ride free.
The sail across Tampa Bay takes about one hour.
Commuters said the $1.5 million investment is worth it. Matthew Bennett said, “Looking forward to it because obviously the concern with Tampa Bay is there’s not a lot of transportation options.”
“I like to Uber but I almost think with the pricing of this, it might come out to be a little less,” Tessa Inners said.
On the other side of the Bay, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said it’s a win-win for both waterside communities.
“Both sides are doing really, really well. And those bridges shouldn’t be barriers, they should be conduits to cooperation. This is one way to further connect our two cities because I can tell you this, we’re going to succeed together,” Buckhorn said.
The ferry begins operating on Nov. 4. Get more details here.
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