As reported by TBNWeekly.com, which are the Beacon, Leader and Bee free local weekly newspapers, ridership for the Cross Bay Ferry (CBF) in February was over 6,000 people. The Guardian has previously reported on CBF ridership, as well as on the policy considerations involving CBF.
According to project adviser and attorney Ed Turanchik, revenues are covering more than a third of operating expenses. He pointed out that a third is considerably higher than the operating recovery percentage of any transit system on the West Coast of Florida, including buses.
However, capital costs must also be considered in the total cost of this largely taxpayer-funded project. Turanchik has previously told the Guardian that those capital costs are 60%-65% of the total cost of this project. It means that out of total project cost of $1.525 million, approximately $200,000 will be covered by passenger fares. The rest will be covered by taxpayers.
In the end, the decision whether to continue a ferry between Tampa and St. Pete will be a policy decision, one that should be informed by the amount of the per passenger taxpayer subsidy (if any) and possible alternative uses of limited Tampa Bay area transportation funds. The Guardian will publish more extensive article on this CBF pilot project after it concludes.
As always, the Guardian reports and the readers decide. Please like our Facebook page to find out when we publish new stories.