The Cross-Bay Ferry has begun its sixth season of operations across Tampa Bay. The service, which provides a scenic and congestion-free transportation option between downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg, returns following its most successful season since the service began with a record-breaking 62,130 riders from October 2021 to May 2023, 10,000 more people than its previous record.
The Cross-Bay Ferry is an innovative collaboration between Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa, the City of St. Petersburg and the Florida Department of Transportation that is working to build the ferry into a long-term local transportation resource that will significantly relieve roadway congestion, boost commerce to local businesses and provide a fast, fun and affordable way to travel. Hillsborough County is currently the lead governmental sponsor.
“Thanks to a productive partnership between the local governments and the Florida Department of Transportation, the Cross-Bay Ferry is returning this month and is well-positioned for another successful season as we continue to build upon the system’s early success,” said Matt Miller, president of HMS Ferries. “The Cross-Bay Ferry offers a uniquely accessible and affordable transportation option between downtown Tampa and downtown St. Pete, providing local residents and visitors with a commuting option that includes incredible views of the bay and surrounding skylines.”
This year, the ferry will again offer an extended season with an additional month of service and an expanded daily schedule that includes later evening runs. Service lasts until May 2023. Later-evening departures will also be available. The Cross-Bay Ferry will operate from the same terminal locations as in previous seasons. In Tampa, the ferry will depart from the dock at the Tampa Convention Center, and in St. Petersburg, from the dock at North Straub Park, near the Vinoy Marina.
The ferry vessel, named Provincetown III, is a twin-hull aluminum catamaran that can carry a maximum of 149 guests at an average speed of 30 mph. The vessel has a full-service bar with basic food service. Passengers may bring up to two pieces of luggage and one small personal item at no extra charge, and they may also bring bikes on board. Customer surveys will also be taken regularly to improve service and gain better insight into how future permanent service can be structured.
In February, the Federal Transit Administration awarded Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) a $4.9 million grant to buy a new 350-passenger vessel that HART requested last October. This will further establish the Cross-Bay Ferry as a mainstay transit option to reduce congestion, create local jobs, support small businesses, and increase connectivity across the Tampa Bay area.
For a full schedule, tickets and more information, visit www.thecrossbayferry.com. Tickets can also be purchased at dockside ticket booths in Tampa and St. Petersburg.