MANNS HARBOR – North Carolina’s newest transportation option, a passenger ferry called the Ocracoke Express, made its maiden voyage on the Outer Banks on Monday morning.
At 9 a.m., 57 women, men and children, and a dog named “Cotton” boarded the Ocracoke Express in Hatteras Village and arrived about 70 minutes later in Ocracoke Village. The Ocracoke Express made three round trips Monday. The Ferry Division reports that 284 people took the passenger ferry in its first day, based on head counts for the first two round trips and bookings for the third round trip.
“The reviews have been very positive,” said Harold Thomas, director of the N.C. Ferry Division. “We’re excited to have the passenger-only ferry service available this summer as an additional travel option for people on the Outer Banks.”
The N.C. Ferry Division will continue to offer the passenger-only ferry service seven days a week until Sept. 5. The passenger ferry supplements the regular vehicle ferries the state agency operates.
“I think it’s great,” said Leslie Lanier, an Ocracoke resident who took the first trip. “I came over to go on the inaugural run this morning to see what it is all about. I think it is going well. So, come on down, they are ready to take you.”
The Ferry Division is offering free service aboard the Ocracoke Express during its first two days. Starting Wednesday, passengers will pay $1 per trip. The Ocracoke Express Passenger Ferry will depart from the Hatteras ferry terminal at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Departures from the Ocracoke Silver Lake Terminal are scheduled for 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“I think this is a great adventure,” said Hatteras resident Judy Banks. “It’s scooting right along. It holds a lot of people. I think it’s really well set up.”
The Ferry Division is leasing the passenger ferry this summer from a New Jersey-based company. The division continues to work with the boat builder to deliver the passenger ferry under constructionShare: