Governor Dan McKee joined state leaders today to announce that the popular Providence-Newport Ferry is returning for its sixth consecutive summer season, beginning Friday, June 18 with four daily roundtrips seven days a week with weekend stops in Bristol. The current COVID-19 public health guidelines allow the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to operate the ferry at full capacity this year.
"The return of the Providence-Newport Ferry is another signpost on the path to restoring our economy and our way of life as the pandemic eases," Governor McKee said. "I urge everyone to take advantage of this great resource to enjoy Narragansett Bay and everything that Newport, Providence and Bristol have to offer this summer."
The ferry has carried 180,000 people since it debuted in 2016, reaching a high of more than 46,400 riders during the summer of 2019 – the last full season prior to the pandemic. The ferry provides residents and visitors a unique travel option between the two cities, which reduces congestion and pollution associated with driving and parking. It also has proved to have a significant economic impact. Based on a survey in 2019, ferry passengers reported spending nearly $2 million in Newport, about $87 per person on average.
"The bay is our greatest natural resource, and we're pleased to continue this popular service that provides an affordable way for people to experience Narragansett Bay while leaving the car behind, cutting down emissions, and skipping the traffic and parking hassles associated with visiting either Providence or Newport in the summertime," said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr.
Seastreak again will be the operator this year utilizing the ferry Ocean State, and will sanitize all high touch areas between and during runs and will thoroughly clean and sanitize the vessel at the end of each day. At this time, Rhode Island is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Rhode Island Department of Health guidance requiring face coverings on all forms of public transit, which include ferries, regardless of vaccination status. This only applies to indoor spaces; not the top open deck of the ferry. Any changes will be posted on www.RideTheBayRI.com.
The cost to ride the ferry remains unchanged from last year, $11 each way for adults, and $5.50 each way for children, seniors, and those with disabilities. Bikes and pets are allowed aboard for no additional charge. Free parking is available in the Providence terminal at 25 India St., Providence.
The ferry season will run through Columbus Day weekend. Service to Bristol is part of the trip to and from Newport, and will operate on weekends through Labor Day weekend. RIDOT also will run special ferries for those going to the Bristol Fourth of July Parade.
Tickets are available now online at www.RideTheBayRI.com or by calling 1-800-BOATRIDE. Seastreak is encouraging the use of e-tickets as much as possible for no-contact ticketing. Tickets will be available starting on the first day of service at the Providence ferry terminal. Those departing from the Newport ferry terminal at Perrotti Park, 39 America's Cup Ave., or the Bristol ferry terminal at the State Street Pier (corner of Thames Street and State Street) can buy their tickets online or on the boat.
Another popular feature returning this year is an agreement for joint ticketing that allows passengers riding Amtrak trains to purchase a ticket that includes the ferry. RIDOT also will continue its partnership with RIPTA to provide a free shuttle bus between the Providence ferry terminal and popular locations in the city, including the Providence train station, the Rhode Island Convention Center, and Kennedy Plaza.
The Providence-Newport ferry is made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT's ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at www.ridot.net/RhodeWorks.