The Providence-Newport ferry service continues to prove popular with Rhode Islanders and visitors alike, and has sold more than 5,000 tickets in its first 12 days, providing passengers a unique and convenient transportation option to one of Rhode Island's most popular summer destinations. Additionally, RIDOT's ferry operator, Seastreak, has indicated that roughly 30 percent of sales are from out-of-state.
Following its debut on the Fourth of July weekend, in which all of the morning trips to Newport were sold out, ridership remained high on sunny midweek days last week and this week with one weekday sellout out on July 6 and more than a half dozen trips that were close to capacity. And nearly 600 people took the ferry this past weekend despite inclement weather.
"We are excited at the success of the ferry in just its first couple of weeks," Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti Jr. said. "It shows that visitors are looking for an alternative and easier way to travel between the two cities that lets them enjoy beautiful Narragansett Bay while avoiding traffic and parking challenges."
The ferry service has also garnered national attention, in coverage of news stories following its inaugural weekend and recently on the Weather Channel. The station highlighted Providence during its "Weekend Recharge" segment on affordable destinations, prominently mentioning the new ferry service and the ease of traveling between Providence and Newport.
To make it easier to plan trips to Newport or Providence on the new ferry, RIDOT announced it is now offering online ticketing and reservation services. Those wishing to take the ferry can visit www.dot.ri.gov/ferry to purchase tickets for round trip or one-way tickets. Tickets also can be bought by calling 1-800-BOAT-RIDE or at the ferry landings at either India Point Park in Providence or Perrotti Park in Newport.
RIDOT, in partnership with the R.I. Public Transit Authority, has upgraded its free Providence city shuttle to a larger-capacity trolley-style bus, which operates between the ferry, Providence Station, the Rhode Island Convention Center and Kennedy Plaza.
The seasonal ferry service runs seven days a week through September 5, with three round-trip excursions weekdays (Monday to Thursday), and four scheduled trips each Friday through Sunday. Fares are $10 for adults each way, and $5 for children, seniors, and those with disabilities. The trip time is one hour. Free, secure parking is available at the Providence landing.
The vessel, named the Ocean State, holds a maximum of 149 passengers and also includes bar service. Pets are welcome, and passengers can take their bikes on the ferry for free, but space is limited.
The new service is a pilot program, which will run through Labor Day. RIDOT will evaluate the ridership at the end of the season to determine the future expansion of the ferry service.
Contact: Charles St. Martin (401) 222-1362, Ext. 4007