Cross-Bay ferry between St. Petersburg and Tampa returns

The service begins its sixth season at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The seasonal Cross Bay Ferry, linking Tampa and St. Petersburg, returns to service this week.
The seasonal Cross Bay Ferry, linking Tampa and St. Petersburg, returns to service this week. [ SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Oct. 17, 2022|Updated Oct. 17, 2022

TAMPA — The Cross-Bay Ferry begins its sixth season sailing across Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

The service, linking the downtowns of Tampa and St. Petersburg, is coming off its most successful season. It attracted 62,130 riders from October 2021 to May 2022, a jump of 10,000 annual passengers.

Tickets can be purchased online at or at dockside ticket booths in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

“Thanks to a productive partnership between the local governments and the Florida Department of Transportation, the Cross-Bay Ferry is returning this month and is well-positioned for another successful season as we continue to build upon the system’s early success,” said Matt Miller, president of ferry operator, HMS Ferries.

“We need every tool available to help solve the transportation needs of Tampa Bay,” said Kimberly Overman, chairperson of the Hillsborough County Commission.

This year, the ferry will add an extra month of service and an expanded daily schedule that includes later evening runs. Final departure times from Tampa are as late as 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Service will begin at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The Cross-Bay Ferry will operate from the same terminal locations as in previous seasons. In Tampa, the ferry will depart from the dock at the Tampa Convention Center, and in St. Petersburg, from the dock at North Straub Park, near the Vinoy Marina. First departures from St. Petersburg will start at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. on Sundays. Final departures from Tampa will be at 10:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 7:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Cross-Bay Ferry adult ticket prices increased to $12 per one-way trip. Discounted tickets remain for seniors, youths, college students and active or retired members of the military, and people using wheelchairs.

The ferry vessel, named Provincetown III, is a twin-hull aluminum catamaran that can carry a maximum of 149 guests at an average speed of 30 mph.

In February, the Federal Transit Administration awarded the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority a $4.9 million grant to buy a new 350-passenger vessel.

“The entire Tampa region has embraced ferry transportation, leading to increased season-by-season ridership and a demand for expanded, permanent service,” said Miller. “That demand for increased service and the recent grant for the purchase of an additional vessel will together set the stage for an exciting new era of ferry transportation that builds upon Tampa Bay’s special maritime history and embraces the area’s vibrant waterfronts.”