ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. -- The St. Johns River Ferry reopened Sunday after receiving routine maintenance and inspection.
After a one month closure, it's back up and running after $925,000 in routine inspection required by the US Coast Guard.
To celebrate the opening of the ferry, there
was a formal kick-off event.
Elaine Shaw, owner of Barz, has been neighbors with the Saint Johns River Ferry since the 1980s.
She's watched it go through its shares of ups and downs.
"They did repairs to the gear box and that took a while because they had to custom-make some of the parks, so that delayed us longer," said Elaine Brown with the St. Johns River Ferry commission.
The hull was also examined for safety.
Mayor Alvin Brown turned out for the grand opening.
"It [the ferry] has a major role in our community and getting people where they need to go. It provides great transportation," said Brown.
Transportation for people like Chris Floyd.
His family lives on Amelia island and he uses the ferry to get home.
"It's so much easier than taking the Dames Point bridge, so you don't have to get all of the way around," said Floyd.
Floyd said it takes him an extra 40 minutes by car.
He is one of the estimated 250,000 people who use the ferry every year. Around 600 people use it daily.
"The Ferry Commission is
delighted to have the ferry back in business, and we apologize for the
inconveniences caused to our riders while it was out of service for its
inspection," said Council Member and St. Johns River Ferry Commission
Chair John Crescimbeni.
Floyd said he noticed the difference around him.
"What was so bad is the disappointed tourists and people who ride it, to go an extra 30 extra miles around, you know, a lot of the base traffic and the restaurants suffered too," Floyd said.
Now that the ferry is back up and running, people can find info using an app.
Download the JaxFerry app for Apple and
Android devices for up-to-minute information about the ferry such as
departure times, travel time remaining, fares and alerts.
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First Coast News