Connect with us


Water transit, Take 2: The Cross-Bay Ferry is back

Bill DeYoung



(Photo: Cross-Bay Ferry)

The Cross-Bay Ferry, which began with an exploratory pilot program in 2016-2017, will officially return Nov. 1, running between St. Petersburg and Tampa six days a week.

There were lessons learned during that six-month test run: This time out, the boat will make more back-and-forth runs, staying docked later in each city to accommodate concerts, sporting events and date night dinners, and ticket prices have been lowered.

The cities of Tampa and St. Pete have each pledged a $150,000 subsidy for the 2018 edition; another $300,000 will be split between Pinellas and Hillsborough county governments. Should the ferry turn a profit – and more than 37,000 riders bought tickets during that relatively brief pilot season – they’ll get a return on their investments.

Seattle-based HMS Ferries will operate the 98-foot, twin-hull aluminum catamaran Provincetown III. It’s a passenger-only ferry – cars will need to be parked somewhere downtown – but there’s room for up to 30 bicycles.

The vessel is licensed to carry up to 149 guests at a time, with outdoor and indoor (i.e. covered) seating.  Food, water and soft drinks will be available, as well as beer and wine.

One-way tickets cost $10 in 2016 and 2017; now, they’ll be $8, with discounts for students, seniors and military personnel (both active and retired). Children age 4 and under will ride for free with a paid adult. Round-trip tickets will not be available.

(According to the ferry website, Returning guests will line up to board the vessel on a first-come, first-served basis. Departing and returning tickets must be purchased separately, but may be purchased at any time from any ticketing platform.)

Each crossing takes about 50 minutes.

A survey of ferry passengers, taken in the spring of 2017, found more than 90 percent were local residents, as opposed to tourists. The survey also revealed that the ferry was making a positive economic impact on local businesses, as 60 percent of passengers spent between $15 and $40 per person at their destination.

Provincetown III will dock at the North Yacht Basin in St. Petersburg, on Bayshore Drive near the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort (SunDial garage parking will be free with your ferry ticket). In Tampa, it will dock behind the Florida Aquarium.

For tickets, and additional information, visit the Cross-Bay Ferry website here.

Ferry schedule


St. Pete Departure – 4 p.m.
Tampa Departure – 5:30 p.m.

St. Pete Departure – 9 p.m.
Tampa Departure – 10 p.m.

No Service Monday

Tuesday – Thursday

St. Pete Departure – 4:30 p.m.
Tampa Departure – 5:45 p.m.

St. Pete Departure – 9:15 p.m.
Tampa Departure – 10:45 p.m.

Friday and Saturday

St. Pete Departure – 10 a.m.
Tampa Departure – 11:30 a.m.

St. Pete Departure – 1 p.m.
Tampa Departure – 2:30 p.m.

St. Pete Departure – 4 p.m.
Tampa Departure – 5:30 p.m.

St. Pete Departure – 10 p.m.
Tampa Departure – 11 p.m.




Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Bob Marcus

    October 21, 2018at8:12 am

    The reason that only 10 percent were tourists because it was not advertised to tourists. How were they supposed to know about it when there was no advertising budget for this market!?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us:

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.