It’s time for Bay area governments to sign a new deal for the Cross Bay Ferry. Unfortunately, one county wasn’t willing to stay with continuing the current deal.
After seeing an increase in business in the past season, it’s time to negotiate a new deal between Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, and the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa. However, one entity chose to say no to the deal.
The Pinellas County commission wants to renegotiate. Each of the four governments involved pays a $190,000 subsidy. Pinellas County says that’s too much for the county to contribute when the only areas that benefit are downtown St. Petersburg and downtown Tampa.
Tickets currently cost just $10 each way, with a price of $8 for seniors, military and students. Travelers in wheelchairs are $5 and children 4 years and under are free. Based on that, with the number of passengers the ferries have been moving, Pinellas County feels it shouldn’t be subsidizing if the travel prices can be raised.
The current two connections for the Cross Bay Ferry are:
- St. Petersburg Ferry Terminal: located on Bayshore Drive NE, between 2nd Ave North & 5th Ave N across from North Straub Park and just south of the Vinoy Hotel
- Tampa Ferry Terminal: located on the waterside of the Tampa Convention Center, just west of the Sail Restaurant and Franklin Street
- There are also plans for a terminal near MacDill Air Force Base and one in the south end of Hillsborough County.
The Ferry runs for seven months of the year. However, there are plans to increase the number of vessels and change to year-round service by 2025. For the Cross Bay Ferry to continue, a deal with the government agencies needs to be made before the deadline in mid-August.
[Source: Fox 13/Cross Bay Ferry]