The inaugural weekend of the new Providence-Newport ferry service proved very popular with Rhode Islanders, as more than 1,000 people took advantage of this new transit connection during its debut this past Fourth of July weekend.
From its start on Friday, July 1 through yesterday, July 4, approximately 1,300 people took the ferry from Providence to Newport. Additionally, all of the morning trips to Newport were sold out, and all but the one of the midday trips reached capacity.
“We are very pleased with the service, and view it as an overwhelming success,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “The ferry likely reintroduced many people to Newport and the Bay, affording a unique way to experience Rhode Island’s greatest natural resource while avoiding the challenges associated with driving and parking in busy downtown Newport.”
The new service is a pilot program, which will run seven days a week through Labor Day. RIDOT will evaluate the ridership at the end of the season to make a determination on the service for 2017.
“If the summer proves to be as popular as this past weekend, we will make plans to offer a more robust service next year,” Alviti said.
Passengers can also make connections in Newport, where ferry service is available via other carriers to Block Island and Jamestown.
The former Shooter’s site proved very successful, and RIDOT observed a high number of walk-ons and people riding their bikes to the ferry. While RIDOT had an overflow parking lot available in additional to the main lot with free, secure parking for up to 200 cars, it was rarely used given the tremendous demand for service. Additionally, many passengers took advantage of the free RIPTA shuttle service to the ferry from Providence Station, the Rhode Island Convention Center and Kennedy Plaza.
The service includes three round-trip excursions weekdays (Monday to Thursday), and four scheduled trips each Friday through Sunday, between Providence (India Point) and Newport (Perrotti Park). Fares are $10 for adults each way, and $5 for children, seniors and those with disabilities, and the trip time is one hour.
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.
Tickets may be purchased at the ferry landings or by calling 1-800-BOATRIDE. For more information, go to https://seastreak.com/ferry-routes-and-schedules/between-providence-newport-ri.