HARKERS ISLAND, NC (WITN) Beach-goers will be able to stay on Ocracoke Island land a little later thanks to a change in the ferry schedule this weekend.
The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry will make its final ferry run an hour later starting Sunday, June 16.
Department of Transportation officials say it's so people can enjoy dinner and watch the sunset without having to rush back to catch the last ferry of the day, which has been leaving at 7 p.m.
Under the new schedule, the final departure will now be at 8 p.m. '
Other departure times are at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Hatteras, with departures from Ocracoke's Silver Lake Terminal at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Round trip fares will cost $2 through the end of the month. Starting July 1, it will cost $4 to travel between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands on the passenger ferry.
In its first month of service, the ferry has already taken 5,200 people across the water.
Starting Monday, people traveling between Hatteras and Ocracoke
Village will have a new travel option.
In addition to the car ferries that already serve the popular route, visitors will have the Ocracoke Express passenger-only ferry as an option.
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division says that after two free preview days on May 2021, the passenger ferry service will run seven days a week from May 22 through Sept. 5.
The division is leasing the ferry, the M/V Martha’s Vineyard Express, from the New Jersey-based ferry company Seastreak Marine. This week, the vessel successfully completed test runs of the route in the Pamlico Sound.
The ferry will make three round trips daily through the summer, departing from the Hatteras terminal at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m., and departing the Ocracoke Silver Lake Terminal at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.
A one-way trip takes approximately 70 minutes.
An initial cost of $1 each way will begin May 22. There will be no extra charge for bicycles.
Passengers who would like to walk on to the passenger ferry should proceed to the Hatteras Terminal at least 20 minutes before departure time.