Tampa and St. Petersburg, Fla., April 13, 2022 – The Cross-Bay Ferry today announced it has broken its record for total number of riders in a season by hitting 53,544 riders on Sunday, April 10. The record marks a milestone in the growth of the ferry since its 2016 launch and another step in its evolution in becoming a permanent transportation option that provides a fast, fun, and affordable way to travel across the Tampa Bay area.
“This season’s record-breaking ridership validates how Tampa Bay residents and visitors alike are embracing ferry transportation as a convenient, cost-efficient transit choice,” said Kimberly Overman, Hillsborough County Commission Chairwoman. “It continues to provide a congestion-proof transit option for residents to get to restaurants, museums, events, and shopping destinations. At the same time, it is laying the foundation for permanent ferry service between Tampa and St. Petersburg.”
With its newest record, the ferry has a 2021-2022 ridership that has exceeded that of its pre-pandemic 2018-2019 season by 2%, with three weeks left before the ferry’s seasonal service pause, on May 1. The previous record of 52,528 was set during the 2018-2019 season, prior to the pandemic.
“Since the launch of our fifth season, on Oct. 21, we’ve seen a strong recovery in our ridership,” said Matt Miller, President, HMS Ferries, the operator of the Cross-Bay Ferry. “The Cross-Bay Ferry also continues to serve as an economic driver for Tampa Bay, with passenger survey data revealing that almost 70% of respondents have indicated that they spend more than $40 in their destination city.”
This momentum was recently aided by a federal grant. In February, the Federal Transit Administration awarded Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) a $4.9 million grant to buy a new 350-person boat that HART requested last October. The investment promises to further establish the ferry as a mainstay transit option to reduce congestion, create local jobs, support small businesses and increase connectivity across the Tampa Bay area.
The final day of service for this ferry season will be May 1. The latest information on the ferry’s remaining season, schedule, and ticket purchasing is available at www.thecrossbayferry.com as well as at ticket booths at the ferry’s docks, near the Tampa Convention Center and the St. Petersburg Vinoy Basin.
About the Cross-Bay Ferry
The Cross-Bay Ferry is a regional collaboration between Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, the city of Tampa and the city of St. Petersburg. This season’s service began on Oct. 21 and will continue until May 1. The ferry offers four trips daily between Tampa and St. Petersburg on Wednesdays and Thursdays, eight trips daily on Fridays and Saturdays, and six trips daily on Sundays. In Tampa, the ferry departs from the dock at the Tampa Convention Center, and in St. Petersburg from the dock at North Straub Park, near the Vinoy Basin. More information on the Cross-Bay Ferry, including the latest schedule and ticket-buying options, can be found at www.thecrossbayferry.com.
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Schifino Lee Public Relations