Mayport Village businesses negatively affected by St. Johns River ferry maintenance repairs

Businesses at the Mayport Village dock are being negatively affected by the St. Johns River Ferry maintenance repairs.

RELATED: JTA gets $3.9M toward St. Johns River Ferry improvements

The ferry has been under maintenance for at least a month and it’s scheduled to end on Feb. 26th. It has affected businesses at Singleton’s Seafood Shack, a restaurant next door to Mayport Village dock.

“When the ferry closes it definitely decreases customers,” Christian Adams, a server at Singleton’s Seafood Shack said. “They have to drive all the way around instead of just coming across the river.”

The St. Johns ferry runs from Mayport Village to Fort George Island and back, carrying over 2.7 million passengers and 1.3 million vehicles since March 2016, according to the JTA.

“[If the ferry was open,] I feel like there would definitely be a lot more people in here right now,” Adams said. “We’re fairly slow during the week, but we usually have at least a lunch rush.”

To prevent future gaps in service, the JTA is applying for a $30 million federal transportation grant to purchase a second ferry.

The grant is through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program (RAISE).

“It’s really to serve the residents in Jacksonville, the Mayport, Fort George, and many of our traveling public,” JTA senior vice president Greer Johnson Gillis said. “That ferry is an important piece, an important connection, here in Jacksonville.”

It takes at least 30 minutes to drive from Mayport Island to Fort George Island, while the ferry ride takes five minutes. JTA said it also plans to expand its routes to other areas.

“That’s the feedback we’ve got from the ferry feasibility study,” Gillis said. “We could look at different options, not just crossing from Mayport to Fort George, but going to other areas and even going into the downtown area, so those are things that we’re keeping open.”

Adams said a second ferry opening would level out or even increase business activity in the community.

There’s no clear indication of if or when a second ferry will be added. However, JTA is considering an electric ferry that can hold more passengers than the original ferry.

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