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Cross-Bay Ferry ridership set another record in March

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

The Cross-Bay Ferry set another record in March with nearly 8,000 passengers paying for a ride across the bay.

The 7,990 tickets sold during the month was a 31-percent increase over February numbers, which also set a record, and nine out of 10 passengers were residents, not tourists.

“We are now in the final month of this pilot project, and the ferry is finishing strong,” said project advisor Ed Turanchik. “We are especially proud to have such strong support from organizations such as Frontier, the Rays, HART, PSTA, the Tampa Bay Lightning and others that want to partner with new transit options.”

A lot of the ridership gains came during weekdays, which saw a 57 percent increase over February. Weekend riders also jumped up 17 percent.

All those riders also contributed to the local economy, with 60 percent of passengers spending between $15 and $40 once they set foot on land.

During the final month of the pilot project, the ferry will partner up with the Tampa Bay Rays and extend hours to make sure fans can use the ferry to get to home games.

Free rides from the ferry dock to the ballpark will be provided by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

The ferry service will also be able to pay back another chunk of the $350,000 city and county governments spent to get it started, though those numbers will not be available until later in April.

February ticket sales paid back about $54,000 of that sum.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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