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The Cross-Bay Ferry returns to Tampa Bay

The Crossbay Ferry docked in Tampa Bay

The Cross-Bay Ferry is returning to service in Tampa Bay beginning Oct. 21 to provide transportation for the next seven months between downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg. The ferry’s return marks its fifth season of convenient, cost-efficient travel across the bay, helping to relieve traffic congestion on the area’s roadways in an entertaining way.

Tickets are available for purchase online or at dockside ticket booths in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

This year and next, the ferry will offer an extended season, with an additional month of service, and an expanded daily schedule, with later evening runs. Service will begin on Oct. 21 and continue until May 22. Later evening departures will also be available, with final departure times from Tampa as late as 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

View of the water from the back of the Cross-Bay Ferry as it travels from Tampa to St. Pete
The view from the back of the Cross-Bay Ferry as it travels from Tampa to St. Pete | Photo by Andrew Harlan

Cross-Bay Ferry once again connects Tampa and St. Pete

“Thanks to a great partnership between four local governments, one of the most exciting and reliable ways to travel across Tampa Bay is back,” said Matt Miller, president, HMS Ferries. “The Cross-Bay Ferry offers an incredibly accessible and affordable transportation option between two of the hottest spots in downtown Tampa and downtown St. Pete. What’s more, passengers get treated to some amazing views of the bay and both cities.”

The Cross Bay Ferry will operate from the same terminal locations as last season. In Tampa, the ferry will depart from the dock at the Tampa Convention Center, and in St. Petersburg from the dock at North Straub Park, near the Vinoy Marina. First departures from St. Petersburg will start at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. on Sundays. Final departures from Tampa will be at 10:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7:30 p.m. on Sundays.

The Cross-Bay Ferry is a regional collaboration between Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, the City of Tampa, and the City of St. Petersburg. Beginning this year, Hillsborough County becomes the lead governmental sponsor, taking the reins from the City of St. Petersburg. 

Carrying up to 149 passengers at a time between two cities

“Hillsborough County is proud to take the lead on continuing this unique regional partnership,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp. “We are glad to be expanding this popular ferry service while also laying the foundation for permanent ferry service in Tampa Bay. Together, we are providing residents and visitors with a fast, fun and affordable way to travel between our communities.”

The ferry vessel is a twin-hull aluminum catamaran that can carry a maximum of 149 guests at an average speed of 30 mph. The vessel has a full-service bar with basic food service. Passengers may bring up to two pieces of luggage and one small personal item at no extra charge, and they may also bring bikes on board. Customer surveys will also be taken regularly to improve service and gain better insight into how future permanent service can be structured.

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