The new Hatteras / Ocracoke passenger ferry, the Ocracoke Express, made its debut on Monday, May 20, after years of planning and anticipation.
Serving as a new means of vehicle-free transportation between the two islands, this new service has garnered plenty of questions from would-be passengers, due to its distinctive route and nature.
Here are the answers to some of the most common FAQs for the Ocracoke Express per the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division, as well as what you need to know before you go.
What is the passenger ferry vessel?
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division is leasing the ferry, the M/V Martha’s Vineyard Express, from the New Jersey-based ferry company Seastreak Marine. The ferry will be known as the Ocracoke Express Passenger Ferry.
How many people can the ferry hold?
The ferry will whisk as many as 149 passengers per trip across the Pamlico Sound directly into Ocracoke Village, and within walking distance of all the village has to offer – from dining to shopping to strolls along the waterfront.
Do I need reservations?
At first, people can walk on to the passenger ferry without a reservation. A reservation system will be put in place at a later date, and will be available online at www.ncferry.org or by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY (1-800-293-3779)
What will the fare be?
On May 20-21, 2019, the ferry service will be free to passengers. An initial cost of $1 each way will begin May 22. There will be no extra charge for bicycles.
What is the schedule?
The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry departs from Hatteras ferry terminal at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Departures from Ocracoke Silver Lake Terminal are scheduled for 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where do I leave my car?
Parking is first-come, first-serve. There are 142 parking spaces available at the Hatteras ferry terminal. Ten overnight parking spaces are also available.
When do I check in?
Passengers who would like to walk on must check in no later than 20 minutes before departure time.
Can I bring carry-on items?
Small carry-on items, backpacks and purses are allowed. Strollers and walkers are also allowed.
How do I get around Ocracoke?
The Silver Lake Ferry Terminal is within easy walking distance of most of Ocracoke’s shops and restaurants. Hyde County also provides free tram service around the Village, and bikes and golf carts are available for rental near the ferry terminal.
Can I bring my bicycle?
Yes. The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry has racks for passengers wanting to bring their bicycles to Ocracoke.
Will there still be car ferries?
Yes. Passenger ferry service is a supplement to and not a replacement for regular vehicle ferries.