A ferry comes to Madeira Beach

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Madeira Beach commission members voted Tuesday to award a bid for a ferry to Hubbard’s Marina.

The ferry service, which will act as a kind of water taxi, will eliminate the need to drive from one spot to another in the city. City Manager Shane Crawford said all the stops have not been worked out, but they’ll likely include John’s Pass, the city center and the Marriott Hotel. If it’s successful, he said, the service could expand to other beach communities like next door Treasure Island.

Under the terms of the bid, the city will subsidize the service for three years at $25,000 a year. After that, Madeira Beach will get part of the profits.

One resident was skeptical.

“I can’t see how this will be a viable operation and make any money at all,” Dick Lewis said. “The ferry situation is a loser.”

Last year, Clearwater decided to run a ferry from the city to Clearwater Beach. The idea was to help beachgoers avoid the parking nightmare on the beach. From all reports, it’s been successful.

It’s unclear when the Madeira Beach service will begin.