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Ferry adds routes to shuttle Rays fans to St. Pete in April

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

With the Major League Baseball season poised to begin in St. Petersburg in 11 days, the Tampa Bay Rays, PSTA and the Cross-Bay Ferry are working together to make it easier for Tampa residents to attend Tampa Bay Rays baseball games.

The ferry will adjust its schedule and add special, later routes to connect from Tampa to St. Petersburg and back in April, the last scheduled month for the ferry pilot project. The announcement was made aboard the vessel at the ferry dock in downtown St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

“This is a fantastic way for Tampa fans to help kick off baseball season in Tampa Bay,” said project advisor Ed Turanchik. “The ferry has been a wonderful addition to this area, and we are thrilled to work with the Rays to support such a fun way for fans to get to games.”

Officials that after passengers arrive in St. Petersburg, PSTA  will pick up the tab in providing free rides between the ferry dock and Tropicana Field for every Rays home game in April (with one exception, on April 21).

The Tampa Streetcar is also getting into the act. They will reduce the daily cost of a pass on the streetcar for ferry riders from $5.00 to $2.50 in April.

Officials with the ferry announced earlier this month that they had sold more than 6,000 tickets in February, the best month yet since the pilot project began operating between Tampa and St. Petersburg in November.

There was a total of 6,070 tickets purchased last month, a 57-percent rise from January, when just 3,867 people bought tickets, the lowest monthly total to date.

The service is scheduled to run through the end of April. Then local officials in the four local governments that put up $350,000 each to help fund it — Tampa, St. Petersburg and Hillsborough and Pinellas counties — will have discussions about maintaining it going forward. It’s being operated in concert with Seattle-based HMS Ferries.

The Rays open the MLB season by hosting the New York Yankees on Sunday, April 2 at 1:10 p.m.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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