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Cross Bay Ferry, linking St. Petersburg and Tampa, launches mid-week discounts

BOGO deals and kids ages 12 and under can ride free with an adult on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Passengers load onto the Cross Bay Ferry at the St. Petersburg dock in October in St. Petersburg.
Passengers load onto the Cross Bay Ferry at the St. Petersburg dock in October in St. Petersburg. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Jan. 23|Updated Jan. 23

Those looking to cross Tampa Bay midweek aboard the seasonal Cross Bay Ferry can now do so for less: Riders travelling on Wednesdays and Thursdays during January and February can buy one ticket and get another free.

Children ages 12 and under will also travel for free with an adult on Wednesdays and Thursdays this month and next, the service, which links the downtowns of Tampa and St. Petersburg, announced Monday morning.

Both promotions exclude days of Tampa Bay Lightning home games and “mark another step in the ferry’s development as a long-term transportation option for travel across the bay,” according to a news release.

The BOGO promotion allows one customer to get up to three free tickets with the purchase of three full-price tickets. To redeem, customers can use the promo code “CROSSBAYWEEKDAY” when purchasing online or in person at dockside ticket booths in Tampa and St. Petersburg. The kids-ride-free promotion allows up to two children to ride free with an adult on participating days with the promo code “KIDSRIDEFREE23.”

The ferry, operated by HMS Ferries, begun its sixth season sailing across Tampa Bay last October, with increased adult ticket prices of $12 per one-way trip. Discounted tickets remain for seniors, college students, active or retired members of the military and people using wheelchairs.

Last season was the route’s most successful yet, attracting 62,130 riders from October 2021 to May 2022, a jump of 10,000 annual passengers.

The ferry launched its Community Partnership Program in December, enabling local businesses to post their logo and a special offer on the Cross-Bay Ferry website at no cost to the business to entice riders to visit their locations. Riders redeem offers by showing proof of purchase of a ferry ticket.

“The partners that have joined since the program’s launch confirm the Cross-Bay Ferry’s role as an economic driver and as a reliable regional travel option for reaching the area’s most popular restaurants, museums, events, and shopping destinations in Tampa and St. Petersburg,” HMS Ferries President Matt Miller said in a statement Monday. “It’s a win-win for both Tampa Bay businesses and ferry riders.”

In Tampa, the ferry departs from the dock at the Tampa Convention Center, and in St. Petersburg, from the dock at North Straub Park, near the Vinoy Marina. Four trips daily are offered between the cities on Wednesdays and Thursdays, eight trips daily on Fridays and Saturdays and six trips on Sundays. The latest schedule and ticket-buying options can be found at www.thecrossbayferry.com.

This season’s service will continue until May.