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Dunedin To Test The Waters With New Ferry Service

Jul 5, 2018

The Dunedin City Commission has approved a one-year pilot program that will allow round-trip ferry service from Dunedin to Clearwater.

Dunedin Parks and Recreation director Vince Gizzi says the city has been working on logistics for more than a year.

"We wanted to make sure that all the committees that we brought this to were comfortable,” he said. “We didn't want to have issues with the boaters that are going in and out of the marina on a daily basis. We wanted to make sure that our docks where the ferry is coming into was safe and ADA assessable."

The water taxi will be operated by Clearwater Ferry, a privately- owned company.

Gizzi says the trial program will give city officials time to assess whether the Dunedin Marina can handle this type of commercial operation.

Last year Clearwater Ferry transported more than 70,000 riders between downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.

Gizzi says its expansion to Dunedin could be a boon to the city's merchants and restaurant owners.

But on social media, some city residents have expressed concern over additional congestion.

"It's a one year trial so we're going to look at things like parking, logistics in and out of the marina and ridership,” said Gizzi. “So there's things that we're going to look at to make a recommendation long term.”

While the city of Clearwater kicks in about $100,000 a year as part of an  agreement to provide ferry service between its downtown and beach, as a pilot project, Dunedin will not have to subsidize its part of ferry service. Additionally, Dunedin residents will receive a discounted fare.

The ferry is scheduled to operate Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to about 10 p.m.