After researching traffic patterns and consulting with coastal stakeholders, the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division switched to its schedule for the 2014 calendar year on Wednesday, Jan. 1.
The schedule eliminates a handful of low-ridership runs, but mostly makes only minor adjustments to departure times and seasonal dates across the system’s seven regular routes.
The new schedule eliminates two early morning weekend runs from the Southport-Fort Fisher route to allow for refueling and maintenance, while also complying with Coast Guard regulations regarding staffing.
It also eliminates four off-season night runs on the Hatteras-Ocracoke route that are lightly used in the winter months.
“This schedule doubles down on our commitment to provide safe, convenient, and efficient transportation to the residents and visitors of Eastern North Carolina,” says Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas. “We have adjusted our schedule based on current ridership patterns and discussions with local government officials and business leaders. By making these small adjustments, we expect to save the citizens of North Carolina thousands of dollars in operating costs for the year.”
The 2014 schedule is available for download here. (Note: the Hatteras-Ocracoke route is temporarily on an amended schedule due to using the longer alternate route. It will begin the published schedule once dredging operations are complete.)
The North Carolina Ferry System transports two million passengers and 850,000 vehicles annually across five bodies of water in Eastern North Carolina. Its passengers include tourists, residents, commuters, and school children.