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St. Johns River Ferry back in service; fares waived for 1 week

Facilities got facelift, ferry inspected and serviced

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Transportation Authority announced Friday that the refurbished St. Johns River Ferry passed its U.S. Coast Guard inspection and sea trials and has returned to service.

As a bonus to commuters inconvenienced during the two months it was out of service, the JTA has waived the fare for all crossing through next Friday, April 9.

In January, the JTA began upgrades to the Jean Ribault ferry and the facilities, including pavement rehabilitation and markings, various Americans with Disabilities Act improvements, new bulkheads and mooring bollards, catwalk access improvements, accessory and utility building improvements, construction of new public restroom facilities at the Mayport landing, along with landscaping and lighting enhancements on each side of the ferry.

The estimated costs of the haul-out and refreshing of the ferry was $2.6 million and the estimated cost of the Phase IV improvement project is $6.6 million.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration awarded a $5.2 million grant to the project through the FTA’s Passenger Ferry Grant Program to continue improvements and upgrades to the ferry. That’s in addition to the $3.9 million FTA Passenger Ferry Grant awarded to the JTA in August 2019.

This is the latest round of upgrades spearheaded by the JTA since it assumed operations in 2016. The JTA completed Phase III in January 2019, which included upgrades to the vessel, as well as operational and other safety improvements like rehabilitated bulkheads, new terminal bridges and stopping mechanisms.

The Jean Ribault is a car and passenger ferry built in 1995 that connects the north and south ends of Florida State Road A1A, linking historic Mayport Village and Fort George Island via a 0.9-mile voyage across the St. Johns River, 2.5 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean.

The ferry is once again open Monday-Friday, beginning in Mayport Village at 6 a.m. and Fort George Island at 6:15 a.m. Service continues with departures on every hour and half-hour through 7 p.m. Service on Saturday and Sunday is from 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased in person, online or through the free MyJTA app, available for iOS and Android smart mobile devices. For more information, visit ferry.jtafla.com.

About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.

Created WJXT.com in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website ever since.