Hillsborough takes step to bring back Cross-Bay Ferry in November
TAMPA -- The Cross-Bay ferry’s six-month trial hasn’t even ended yet and Hillsborough County Commissioners are already looking to bring it back.
Commissioners on Wednesday directed county staff to identify money in next year’s budget that could again contribute to a seasonal ferry connecting the downtowns of St. Petersburg and Tampa. Hillsborough, along with St. Petersburg, Tampa and Pinellas County, contributed $350,000 last year to pay for the ongoing pilot program.
The show of support for the ferry came after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman updated commissioners with preliminary ridership figures and survey data on the habits of its users.
In all, the Cross-Bay Ferry has carried more than 36,000 riders -- including 5,100 in the first few weeks of April. He said ridership could reach 10,000 this month before the pilot program ends.
Kriseman also predicted that each government will have about $30,000 returned to them since ticket sales have exceeded their investments.
“The future of this service is exciting,” Kriseman said. “I think all of us come May 1 are going to hear from our constituents, 'Where did the ferry go, and when does it come back.'"
This story is developing. Check tampabay.com later for more.