More than 5,000 passengers have hitched a ride on new ferry

By on June 15, 2019

(Island Free Press)

Since officially launching on May 20, the new Ocracoke Express passenger ferry has carried 5,239 passengers and 316 bikes across Hatteras Inlet, according to Jed Dixon, NCDOT Ferry Division deputy director.

“It’s been extremely popular,” Dixon said. “We’re seeing ridership go up every week, so it’s been widely used so far.”

“The great thing is that it’s providing options for people going to and from Ocracoke,” he added. “Now, they can make the decision to bring their car and all of their gear for a long vacation, or take the passenger ferry for a short stay … We’re very excited that the ferry has been a popular (alternative).”

The NCDOT Ferry Division receives daily reports on the number of passengers and has been keeping track of user feedback during the ferry’s first three weeks of operation. As a result of these comments, the NCDOT will be tweaking the ferry schedule within the next few days to accommodate folks who want to stay in Ocracoke or Hatteras village a little longer.

Currently, there are three departures per day from both the Hatteras and Ocracoke village ferry terminals for a total of six daily crossings.

The number of crossings will remain the same in the upcoming revisions, but the last crossing of the day will be rescheduled to a later time for people who want to linger in Hatteras or Ocracoke to enjoy dinner, a sunset, extended shopping, or all three .

Under the new schedule, the ferry will depart Hatteras at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., with departures from Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Terminal at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“We heard from many passengers wanting to use the passenger ferry to have dinner on Ocracoke or to enjoy the sunset on Pamlico Sound,” said Ferry Division Director Harold Thomas. “This later final departure will make that possible.”

Introductory fares of $2 for a round trip will remain in effect through June 30.

Starting July 1, regular fares of $4 for a round trip will begin, with children 3 and under free. There is no additional charge for bicycles.

Reservations can be now made through June 30 by calling 1-800-293-3779 or by going to Walk-up reservations are also accepted as long as space is available.

For more information on the new passenger ferry, read our FAQs article at

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  • Sean

    I’m a local manteo resident. To all the na sayers in previous negative comments. I told you so. It seems as though it’s turned out to be very popular. The only problem I have it the responsibility of the workboat contractors building the nc ferry boat. Piss poor job on there behalf. Each weld should have been inspected as they were finished from the start. Then they would have known if the welders were experienced enough to do their job..

    Sunday, Jun 16 @ 9:17 am
  • Really?

    Averaging approximately 50 riders per trip is considered popular and a success? Really? So all the riders combined so far wouldn’t even pay for one day at the $8000 per day taxpayers are getting hosed for.

    Monday, Jun 17 @ 4:18 pm