Cross Bay Ferry returns to Tampa Bay

The Cross Bay Ferry is back.

Service starts Thursday and will take passengers from the Florida Aquarium in Tampa to the Vinoy Basin in St. Petersburg.

The ferry service began two years ago, as a test run.

This season it will run later in the day for those with dinner plans and attending Lightning games.

The company that operates the ferry, HMS Ferries hopes the Cross Bay Ferry service is just the beginning. HMS's Matt Miller says they're hoping a commuter ferry service between South Hillsborough County and MacDill Air Force Base is next.

"That would be a three or four-boat operation that would work 365 days a year," said Miller. "We could also use those boats to support entertainment in the evenings as well." 

The Cross Bay Ferry will run through April 30. It's being subsidized by local governments. Tampa, St. Petersburg, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and the Florida Department of Transportation are contributing $150,000 each. 

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said ferries could become part of the larger transportation solution, citing successes in other cities.

"And in some of those communities, they've even stopped owning cars because they have great transit options. That's where we want to [be]. This isn't the solution, but it's part of the solution," said Kriseman.

The cost for the 50-minute trip is $8 for adults and $3 for children, each way. It runs every day except Monday.

For schedules and more information, visit