HATTERAS, N.C. (WAVY) — North Carolina transportation officials are adding ferry runs on the Outer Banks.
The Hatteras-Ocracoke vehicle ferry route is expanding its summer departure schedule. Now through Sept. 21, from Tuesday through Thursday, the number of scheduled departures will increase from 36 to 52.
State Sen. Bobby Hanig (R), whose district includes Ocracoke Island, believes the move will have a substantial impact. He said the long waits on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in particular, make many drivers give up and turn around.
“We’re losing that revenue and we’re losing that experience,” he said. “And I think anyone you talk to that goes to Ocracoke and has that experience, they just want to come back.
“Anytime we lose someone, that’s a long term hit in the economy, so this is going to leave virtually all of it; it’s just tremendous,” Hanig said.
He’s optimistic this move, though temporary, is a sign that the state legislature will address the issue and increase funding for the service’s operations.
“And this is truly what government is supposed to look like,” he said. “People having a concern — whether it’s residents, business owners or whoever it is, having a concern — and driving that concern all the way up to the state level, and making something happen.”
Here is the updated Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday schedule for Aug. 22 through Sept. 21:
From Hatteras: 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight.
From Ocracoke: 4:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., noon, 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and midnight.
The Friday through Monday schedules will remain at their current levels.
The N.C. Department of Transportation also operates a passenger ferry which makes three round trips every day between Hatteras and Ocracoke Village. The Ocracoke Express summer season was supposed to end on July 31, but due to demand and funding, it will now continue through the Labor Day weekend. Reservations are available at www.ncferry.org or by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY.