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Cross-Bay Ferry offers discount pass to commuters

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Fresh off two weekends of nearly sold-out trips, the Cross-Bay Ferry is offering a Commuter Value Pass option, providing weekday commuters with a 50-percent discount off ticket prices.

Here’s how the Value Pass program works: Starting Nov. 28, customers can log on to CrossBayFerry.com to become a Value Pass holder, and purchase a pack of 20 tickets for $100, or $5 per ticket, compared to the regular $10 one-way ticket price. To plan their commutes, customers then log on anytime and reserve a specific sailing for themselves for any voyage. The Commuter Value Pass can only be used once per sailing, but anytime during the six-month pilot project.

Commuter Value Pass holders will have a backup plan if they have an emergency and need to get home and cannot use the scheduled ferry service. The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority and the Florida Department of Transportation, District 7, have extended the “Emergency Ride Home” program to Value Pass passengers.

This program provides up to $100 in taxi fare, up to four times per year for those who use an alternative to driving alone while commuting to work two times or more each week. Options include transit, carpool, vanpool, and bicycle. The service is available 24/7, and individuals must register online for the TBARTA myCOMMUTE program to qualify and receive their first voucher.

In addition, seven-day a week service will begin next week. The first three days of Thanksgiving week are free as part of Frontier Communication’s “Ride Free” promotional, with tickets available at the dock on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Regularly scheduled, weekday service begins Nov. 28 with ferries leaving St. Petersburg at 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and from Tampa at 9:30 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.

Wine, beer and drink sales will start his weekend, fulfilling a top request of customers and prospective commuters surveyed by the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Other organizations are joining the ferry project in a variety of ways. Frontier Communications is sponsoring “Ride Free Day, Powered by Frontier,” offering free walk-up tickets for every third Sunday of the month, plus free rides on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The Tampa Bay Times is producing a special onboard publication called “Destinations” that highlights the fantastic shops, restaurants and hotels in Tampa and St. Petersburg. And last weekend, the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out the vessel for a special run to carry fans in St. Petersburg to a game at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Strategic Property Partners also will start providing discounted parking at the surface parking lot immediately north of the Marriott Waterside on dates when there is not an event at Amalie Arena. Ferry passengers will be able to park one block from the ferry terminal and receive a $5 discount on the day they use the ferry. Passengers can pick up a discount voucher when they board the ferry.

Passengers can purchase tickets at the docks near the St. Petersburg Museum of History and the Convention Center in Tampa, or at CrossBayFerry.com. The launch of the Cross-Bay Ferry became possible through a unique collaboration between the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa, and of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

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