Back on the water
Hillsborough County, Tampa and St. Petersburg public officials are celebrating the return of the Cross-Bay Ferry for its sixth season of service from downtown to downtown.
The first trip of the season embarked at 4:45 p.m. from the dock at North Straub Park in St. Pete.
“The sun is out. We’re on the waterfront. We’re bringing people back and forth,” said Chris Steinocher, president and CEO at St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “I think these are the kind of days that we should celebrate and really demand more of.”
Last season, the aluminum catamaran carried more than 62,000 riders, which was 10,000 above its previous high.
“That’s a lot of cars off the road. That’s a lot of business. That’s a lot of economy,” said Kimberly Overman, the chair of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. “It helps people get around in a way that’s not dependent on many other resources that we currently don’t have.”
Season six brings bigger goals. The city of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Hillsborough County say the ferry service could be a long-term, local transportation resource that would help relieve roadway congestion, boost commerce and provide a fast, fun, and affordable way to travel.