Support the ferry
In 2016, the Cross Bay Ferry began service between St. Petersburg and Tampa to mark a new era of public transportation. Six years later, however, after steady ridership has established the ferry as a mainstay transportation option, public funding the ferry relies on is at risk of being discontinued by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. A choice to jeopardize the ferry would be a step backward from relieving roadway congestion, boosting local commerce and providing affordable travel. Here’s how the ferry benefits Tampa Bay:
-- Steady growth: The ferry’s ridership has grown from 40,854 in 2017 to 62,130 this year.
-- Commerce driver: Surveys reveal that 90% of riders patronize restaurants, shops and events in destination cities.
-- Affordable transportation: Just $10 one-way, the ferry offers economical travel between St. Petersburg and Tampa.
-- Record-breaking season: The ferry just completed its most successful season.
-- Permanent service plans: Recently announced plans include the potential to accelerate the start of permanent service for the 2024-25 season.
As a new service, the ferry has relied on public funding to build a customer base. This investment has been pivotal to increase ridership, and it’s still needed. For the ferry to continue to become a mainstay and reduce congestion, create jobs and support businesses, we need your help. Join us in voicing support to continue the ferry’s funding.
Bob Rohrlack and Chris Steinocher
The writers are, respectively, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Chamber and president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
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