Community Comes Together To Celebrate Arrival of Two New Ferries

NORFOLK, VA – Hampton Roads Transit held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the arrival of two new ferries. Nearly a hundred people gathered on the dock at Waterside to help welcome Elizabeth River Ferries VI and VII to the fleet.

Benjamin Simms IV, Chief Operating Officer of Hampton Roads Transit; Mayor Kenny Alexander, Norfolk; Mayor Shannon Glover, Portsmouth; and David Jordan, Owner/Operator of Norfolk by Boat were the guest speakers.

The Elizabeth River Ferry has been serving Hampton Roads for more than four decades traveling nearly 7,000 miles each year, back and forth across the river.

“Public transit plays a vital role in moving the region forward,” said Simms. “The Elizabeth River Ferry is integral to the mission of Hampton Roads Transit and the success of the cities it serves.”

Each year the ferry brings tens of thousands of people to the Waterside District and Downtown Portsmouth for work and entertainment. Over the last ten years its partnership with Elizabeth River Crossings has allowed for an increase in hours of operation.

“HRT’s efforts in maintaining and expanding the public transportation system, including the vital Elizabeth River Ferry service, is instrumental in improving connectivity and accessibility across the region,” said Alexander.

“The ferry unites our communities and makes us stronger as a result,” said Glover. “By investing in efficient and reliable public transportation, we are investing in the future prosperity of our cities and our Hampton Roads region.”

The Elizabeth River Ferry has carried nearly 17 million passengers since it began in 1983. Jordan has been at the helm from the beginning and says there is something special about ferry riders.

“Whether they are riding to go to work, shopping, lunch or dinner, to attend a festival, concert or baseball game, or just to get out on the water and sightsee… there is a comradery among our riders, a feeling of friendliness, goodwill, and familiarity,” said Jordan.

Today’s festivities culminated in the maiden voyage of ERV VI which is now ready for service.

ERF’s VI and VII were built by St. John’s Ship Building Inc., in Palatka, FL at a cost of $6.4 million for both and were paid for using federal, state, and local resources.