The seasonal Providence-Newport Ferry service, will set sail Friday, May 24 with new weekend stops in the bayside community of Bristol, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has announced.
The new ferry service to Bristol is part of the trip to and from Newport, and runs on weekends from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Special trips will be included for the Bristol Fourth of July Parade and WaterFire in Providence. Ferries between Providence and Newport run seven days a week, with three round trips daily during spring and fall shoulder seasons and four round trips during peak season and on weekends.
"When we launched this service, we always planned to expand it to other ports of call along beautiful Narragansett Bay," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. "After a successful first year providing service to the Bristol Fourth of July Parade, we decided to expand our service to Bristol throughout the summer. Just like our primary service between Providence and Newport, the ferries reduce congestion, motor vehicle emissions and parking problems." "We are pleased Seastreak is returning to Rhode Island and expanding service to Bristol," said Rhode Island Commerce Corporation President Jesse Saglio. "Tourism is an important industry, and the ferry is an excellent opportunity for visitors and residents alike to experience the Ocean State." The ferry service has been an economic boon as well. RIDOT conducted a survey of passengers last season and found that those who traveled to Newport solely because of the ferry on average spent about $78 per person. By comparison, the City of Newport conducted an economic impact survey of cruise-ship riders in 2010 that found an average spending of $25 per person. During the season, the ferry riders spent $730,000. Over 40 percent of the RIDOT survey respondents said they would not have visited Newport without the ferry.
Nearly 120,000 tickets have been sold since the ferry debuted in Summer 2016. Seastreak again will be the operator this year utilizing the ferry Ocean State. Ticket prices each way increased slightly, but remain very affordable at: $11 for adults, and $5.50 for children, seniors, and those with disabilities. Bikes and pets are again allowed aboard for no additional charge. Free parking is available in the Providence terminal. Tickets are available now online at www.RideTheBayRI.com or by calling 1-800-BOATRIDE. Tickets will also be available on the first day of service at the Providence ferry terminal at 25 India St. in Providence, the Newport ferry terminal at Perrotti Park, 39 America's Cup Ave., and the Bristol Maritime Center, 127 Thames St. The actual ferry dock in Bristol is a short walk away at the State Street Pier at the corner of Thames Street and State Street. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended, especially for weekend trips, as departures from Providence in the morning and early afternoon were frequently sold out last year. 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 will continue its partnership with RIPTA to provide a free shuttle bus between the Providence ferry terminal and popular locations in the city, including 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.