Ocracoke Express in the Pamlico Sound. Photo: Peter Vankevich

Reprinted courtesy of the Island Free Press

Since officially launching on May 20, the new Ocracoke Express passenger ferry has transported 5,239 passengers and 316 bikes across Hatteras Inlet, Jed Dixon, NCDOT Ferry Division deputy director, said recently.

“It’s been extremely popular,” said Dixon. “We’re seeing ridership go up every week, so it’s been widely used so far. The great thing is that it’s providing options for people going to and from Ocracoke. 

“Now, they can make the decision to bring their car and all of their gear for a long vacation, or take the passenger ferry for a short stay… We’re very excited that the ferry has been a popular [alternative].”

The NCDOT Ferry Division receives daily reports on the number of passengers and has also been keeping track of user feedback during the ferry’s first three weeks of operation. As a result of these comments, the NCDOT will tweak the ferry schedule slightly within the next few days to accommodate folks who want to stay in Ocracoke or Hatteras village a little longer.

Currently, there are three departures per day from both the Hatteras and Ocracoke village ferry terminals for a total of six daily crossings:  Departing from Hatteras–9 a.m., 1 and 5 p.m. Departing Ocracoke–11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m.

The number of crossings will remain the same in the upcoming revisions, but the last crossing of the day will be rescheduled to a later time in order to accommodate people who want to linger in Hatteras or Ocracoke to enjoy dinner, a sunset, extended shopping or all of the above.

The precise schedule change will be announced by the NCDOT soon, and in the meantime, passengers can reserve their trip on the Ocracoke Express online here, or by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY.

The introductory fare of $2 for a round trip will remain in effect through June 30.  On July 1, regular fares of $4 for a round trip will begin, with children 3 and under free.

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