Possibly less deadly means of getting across Tampa Bay to debut in November

Ferry! We're talking about the ferry.

Last month, we were in a magical place.

Two places, actually.

First, a place called Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, then Philly for the Democratic National Convention.

Both places were hewn from the stuff of our dreams for one reason in particular: we could walk a few blocks, and, for a couple of bucks, step into a tube-like structure that would take us in the general direction of where we wanted to go. No keys, no gas pumps, no insurance, no worries about over-imbibing, no nothin'. Glorious.

We have for years wondered why getting to and from the office (St. Pete—>Ybor—>home sweet St. Pete) is frequently perilous and/or depressing; why is crossing the Howard Frankland Bridge nightmare fodder? (Actually, we know why: people who will be dead in 30 years don't want to pay an extra penny for a pack of gum so their grandkids don't have to own a car if they can't afford to/don't want to.)

So Tuesday's news made us particularly happy.

The Pinellas County Commission approved its share of funding for a cross-bay ferry service pilot program (!) between downtown St. Pete and downtown Tampa (!). Pinellas was the fourth and final required entity, the others being Hillsborough County and the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa, to agree to kick in $350,000 for the concept.

“This is a shining example of the progress our region can make when we work together. I want to thank each of our partner governments for entering into this agreement and for helping to better connect residents on both sides of Tampa Bay," said St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. "While this is not the answer to our area’s mass transit challenges, it does allow us to test one piece of the puzzle: water-based transportation.”

Amen. 

Most politicians still think widening roads is the way to solve our notorious traffic, yes, but this option offers a way to prove them all wrong.

The service will run seven days a week — weather permitting, of course, and the fare will likely be $10 each way.

Plus, it is a boat.

Travel by boat is categorically cooler and more fun than any other means of travel, except maybe zorbing or any other means of travel invented in New Zealand.

Plus, it will take us from Vinoy Basin to Channelside, where we can take in a Lightning Game/Billy Joel (or something) concert or catch the Street Car to Ybor or downtown Tampa.

The challenge: We have to actually ride the thing, and more than once.

The service is expected to launch Nov. 1.

Let's not fuck this one up, guys.

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