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high speed ferry is ocracoke’s future

It looks like there’s a high-speed ferry in Ocracoke’s future. Jeff Hampton writing for the Virginian-Pilot takes a look at how long lines, falling passenger use and a shoaling inlet have combined to move NCDOT to create a new passenger only route between Ocracoke and Hatteras Village.

An example of a passenger only high-speed ferry. Ferry pictured has a 138 passenger capacity and can cruise at 36 knots.

An example of a passenger only high-speed ferry. Ferry pictured has a 138 passenger capacity and can cruise at 36 knots.

“Fifteen dollars will eventually buy you a round trip to Ocracoke on a fast-moving ferry with soft seats and refreshments – but you’ll have to leave your car behind.

The North Carolina Ferry Division expects to start a passenger-only service early in 2017, supplementing the slower ferries that carry vehicles, said spokesman Tim Haas.Ridership would grow the first year by 125,000 passengers and add $500,000 annually, primarily to the Ocracoke Village economy, according to a study conducted for the agency.

Lines are long for vehicle ferries, and waits have grown to two hours at times because shoaling at Hatteras Inlet forces the vessels to take a longer route. Ridership has fallen by 250,000 from the peak year of 2007, when nearly 1 million rode the Hatteras ferries, more than any other route. The number of visitors to Ocracoke Island has fallen by 450 a day.”

Two years until a high speed ferry will whisk passengers to Ocracoke? Get the story here.

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