Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ferry Flounders Kriseman promises return

Water transportation in the Bay area will remain more of curiosity than a serious transportation option for the foreseeable future.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog


The Cross Bay Ferry will not be returning to the waters of Tampa Bay this season. See the details in a Tampa Bay Times article by Caitlin Johnston The Cross Bay Ferry won’t come back this fall. What about 2018?

The group promoting the ferry could not shore up the funding for the upcoming 2017 season. The notable holdout was the City of Tampa.

It seems Mayor Buckhorn did not share Mayor Kriseman’s fascination with the ferry and felt it should be funded by private dollars. That was enough to sink the project for this year.

The Johnston article points a number of other concerns, including the ongoing construction at the new St. Pete Pier, which may have forced a different docking location for the ferry.

While the Cross Bay Ferry had good weekend and evening, occupancy rates the daily ridership remained weak. It turns out the ferry was more of a pleasure ride service than a commuter service.

Buckhorn is right. If it turns out the Cross Bay Ferry is a tourist attraction, then it would be better funded by private dollars.

St. Petersburg has applied for a one-time grant from The Florida Department of Transportation for the 2018-2019 season and has been awarded just over $400,000 to help pay for the proposed season. That should help ease the burden on everyone involved.

Water transportation in the Bay area will remain more of curiosity than a serious transportation option for the foreseeable future.

Public funds like the FDOT $400,000 grant would be much better directed at transportation options that are more than pleasure boat rides. There is a lot of effort going on in the Tampa Bay area from driverless cars to self-driving buses.

This is a classic example of why public transportation is so disorganized in the Tampa Bay region. Every fiefdom has its own idea and charges off to get it funded.

All these pet transportation projects do is muddy the water and slow down serious progress.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.


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