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Ferry Service a Success, Kriseman Says

Cross BayFerry|Transportation|Commuting


The six-month pilot won’t be concluded for another few weeks, but St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said ferry service is sustainable in Tampa Bay.


With a month to go before the pilot is completed, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is declaring the cross-bay ferry a success.

“The numbers have been more robust than expected,” Kriseman told Pinellas County commissioners. “I think this pilot has been far better than expected. … There is a demand for ferry service in Tampa Bay.”

The Cross-Bay Ferry began running in November and is contracted to run through the end of this month. The six-month pilot, funded by St. Petersburg, Tampa and Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, was designed to test the waters to see if a permanent ferry between Tampa and St. Pete would be sustainable.

Kriseman offered the data from November through February to say that it is.

Rick Kriseman | St. Petersburg Mayor | St. Petersburg Politics
Rick Kriseman

During that time period, a total of 22,596 passengers rode the ferry. The highest paid ridership during that period was in February when there were 6,070 paid riders. There were 7,606 riders in November, the first month the ferry ran, but that includes free rides.

Kriseman said the ferry has had a big impact – about $920,000 – thus far on local business. About 60 percent of passengers said they spent between $15 and $40 per person once they were at their destination and more than 30 percent said they spent about $100 per person when they arrived at their destination.

The four governments each kicked in $350,000 to run the pilot. Kriseman said they’re already getting some of that money back. In February, after operating expenses were paid, Kriseman said a total of $54,602 was given back to the four investors – that’s $13,650.50 returned to each of four governments.

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Kriseman concluded that surveys and data indicate that:

*There is a demand for ferry service in Tampa Bay
*Commuter service by ferry is viable at the right price
*Farebox recovery is higher than with traditional transportation, such as buses
*There is an identifiable economic impact to this form of transportation
*People like, and are proud of, the service.

For information about the Cross-Bay Ferry, go to

Slides are courtesy of the city of St. Petersburg.

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