Ticket sales for the first weekend of service of the Cross Bay Ferry were strong, with more than 70 percent of the seats sold from Friday night through Sunday evening.
Nearly half the one-way trips sold at least 90 percent of the available inventory. The Cross-Bay Ferry ran seven roundtrips over the weekend.
“The results are beyond our expectations, and the excitement we’re seeing for the ferry across Tampa Bay is translating into real ticket sales,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said. “Still, this is just the first weekend, and our team expects that ridership will go up and down over the next few months. We don’t expect that it will stabilize until the third month.”
Project advisor Ed Turanchik with Akerman LLP put the weekend ridership into perspective.
“The weekend ridership was comparable to the number of passengers carried on a weekday basis on all HART express, limited express, and Flex service,” Turanchik said. “This shows the capacity of passenger ferry service to make a significant contribution to mobility in our region.”
In other major marketing developments, the Tampa Bay Lightning bought out the Cross-Bay Ferry’s round-trip tickets Saturday evening for a group of fans in St. Petersburg to come watch the Lightning game. The Lightning will have the Thunder Bug and Lightning cheerleaders on board and will film a special promotional video to encourage Pinellas residents to use the ferry to get to games and events at Amalie Arena.
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. Ferry passengers will be able to park just a block from the ferry terminal for just $5 on the day they use the ferry. Passengers can pick up a voucher when they board the ferry.
Tickets are on sales for Cross-Bay Ferry service on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through April, with the third Sunday a free ride day sponsored by Frontier Communications, which is also sponsoring free daily service on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day. Tickets for this service only are available on a walk-up basis. Full seven-day-a-week service begins Nov. 28 and runs through the end of April. Passengers can purchase tickets at the docks near the St. Petersburg Museum of History in St. Petersburg 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 Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Other community supporters and partners include the Tampa Bay Times, Frontier Communications, iHeartMedia, Clear Channel Outdoor, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Downtown Partnership, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Visit Tampa Bay, Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater, and the Pirate Water Taxi.