PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Providence-Newport Ferry is back for its fourth summer and for the first time, it will offer regular stops in Bristol.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) kicked off the 2019 season with dual events on Friday. The inaugural ferry launched from the terminal at India Point Park in Providence at 9:30 a.m. then arrived at the State Street Pier in Bristol around 10:15 a.m., where more festivities awaited.
The main ferry operated by Seastreak was out of service on Friday due to mechanical issues, according to RIDOT, but a substitute ferry was brought in to make trips from Providence to Bristol. The agency said the main ferry is expected to be back in service on Saturday and advised checking for updates on its website or social media before buying tickets.
With heavy travel delays expected for Memorial Day Weekend, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said the ferry provides an option for people to avoid congested and potentially even dangerous roadways.
“We have a lot of accidents not only nationwide but in Rhode Island during this weekend,” Alviti said. “This offers the opportunity to leave the car behind in the parking lot.”
Service between Providence and Newport will run through Columbus Day and for the first time, stops in Bristol will be offered on weekends and holidays. Last year, the ferry traveled to Bristol for just the Fourth of July celebration.
RIDOT also said it’s planning to offer expanded ferry service on WaterFire nights in Providence.
Alviti touted the ferry as a convenient and relaxing way to take in Rhode Island’s coastline.
“In addition to providing another mode of transportation for people, it also provides an opportunity to enjoy one of the most beautiful natural resources in the state,” he said.
Round-trip tickets for the ferry start at $22 for adults and $11 for children
Free parking is available at the Providence ferry terminal. This year, RIDOT said they’re continuing their joint agreement with the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) which provides a free shuttle service between the Providence terminal and popular locations around the city.