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Cross-Bay ferry

Courtesy of HMS Ferries

The Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to bring back the ferry service that connects downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg.

Tucker Hall

The Cross-Bay Ferry pilot project, which connects the downtowns of Tampa and St. Petersburg, will cease its run at the end of this month. But it has provided valuable information about the habits of would-be riders.

Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik is a project advisor. And on behalf of his firm, Akerman, he's helping to put together a public-private partnership between Hillsborough County and the ferry service providers for a different ferry project.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

You have today and Wednesday to catch a free ride on the new Cross-Bay Ferry. The “Test the Waters” promotion is taking passengers on a first come basis with no reservations needed.

Organizers are hoping the free 60-minute cruise will attract passengers willing to pay for the ferry service. in the future. The one-way fare between Tampa and St. Petersburg will be $10 for adults.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Ever since Tony Jannus flew the first scheduled airline flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa in 1914, people have looked for ways to “bridge” the bay.

Now, for $10 and 50 minutes of your time, the Cross-Bay Ferry can transport you between St. Petersburg and Tampa. Public service starts Friday.

Courtesy of HMS Ferries

You will soon be able to test ride the new Cross-Bay Ferry.

One of the architects of the project, Ed Turanchik, said the plan is to give the public a chance to try out the ferry for free during Thanksgiving week. There will also be Friday through Sunday service offered for entertainment and tourism purposes beginning Nov. 4.