Success of Cross Bay Ferry focuses on growth

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In case you’re seeking to get from downtown Tampa to downtown St. Petersburg whereas having fun with the surf of the bay, the gulf breezes, and quite a bit much less stress away from car site visitors, The Cross Bay Ferry will carry you over.

A transportation collaboration between the governments of St. Petersburg and Tampa, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, and the Florida Division of Transportation, The Cross Bay Ferry takes riders 50 minutes from the downtown Tampa waterfront throughout Tampa Bay about 25 miles southwest to St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park. The Tampa boarding spot initially was on the Tampa Conference Middle, however no less than quickly has modified to Sparkman Wharf to accommodate the Tremendous Bowl (now by Feb. 17).

The ferry resumed service on November 1, 2020, after being suspended since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, Ben Lee, principal and founding father of Schifino Lee Tampa promoting company — whose agency has dealt with the ferry’s advertising and promoting since its inception — says regardless of the nine-month interval of uncertainty, the “future appears shiny” for the boat’s development.
 
The ferry is contracted to run seasonally from Nov. 1 to April 30 by Matt Miller, president of HMS Ferries Inc., Bainbridge Island, Washington, and the 4 authorities entities funding the initiative. With backing by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, the ferry was capable of resume operations underneath COVID-19 protocols on Nov. 1.
 
“It appears to have already been operating very properly and so they’ve made COVID requirements a precedence after they re-started Nov. 1,” says Lee.

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Lee says ridership continues to be very sturdy and there’s “current exercise” about restarting discussions concerning broader ferry service from south Hillsborough County round Riverview and MacDill Air Pressure Base to St. Pete.
 
The idea requires constructing a brand new ferry terminal within the Ruskin-Riverview space the place many MacDill personnel dwell as a commuter service.
 
“That service alone will likely be very profitable — south county to St. Pete and to downtown Tampa, so it would grow to be a multi-level, multi-stop route with everlasting service 12 months a 12 months,” he says, including dialogue with Hillsborough County commissioners is ongoing.
 
When and if the elevated dimension and scope of everlasting Cross Bay Ferry service happens, now in its fourth season, Lee says its a number of stops and up-to-date vessels will “assist make Tampa a world-class metropolis.”
 
“Will probably be on par with New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Hong Kong with reference to its water-transportation wants,” he says. “It’s all very thrilling.”
 
As for the present season of ferry rides, they’ve included elevated COVID-19 Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) security precautions, together with working at 50 p.c capability of its 149 passengers and necessary carrying of masks.
 
Presently, masks should be worn contained in the ferry cabin. Chosen seats are additionally roped off to designate social distancing. Areas with frequent hand-touching comparable to door handles and railings are wiped and sanitized in between each journey.
 
Moreover, in an effort to keep away from the unfold of COVID-19, plexiglass has been put in between seating, and restrooms are outfitted with movement sensors for issues like water and lighting.
 
The Cross Bay Ferry fares for adults is $10 a method; seniors pay $eight a method, and youngsters are $5 a method. Youngsters ages four and underneath can journey totally free.
 
Tickets can be found on-line or on the dockside ticket cubicles. In Tampa, that’s at Sparkman Wharf inside Water Road Tampa. In St. Petersburg, it’s on the Vinoy Basin, 375 N.E. Bayshore Drive. Trip reservations are inspired.
 
For info, name  (727) 273-6877 or go to the Cross Bay Ferry web site. 
 

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