Ocracoke Express passenger ferry returns this summer

Passengers observe from the upper deck as the Ocracoke Express arrives at the Silver Lake docks in 2019. [NCDOT photo]

After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ocracoke Express passenger ferry returns this summer beginning May 25.

The passenger ferry was introduced in 2019 as an alternative to the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry for people traveling between the islands. More than 28,600 people used the Ocracoke Express in its first year.

Unlike the free Hatteras-Ocracoke vehicle ferries, which drop passengers and their cars off at the ferry terminal 13 miles from town, the passenger ferry brings visitors to Silver Lake Harbor in the heart of the village.

Ocracoke Express plans to run from May 25 to Sept. 9 this year, with a one-way fare of $5 and $1 per bicycle one way. The ferry will depart from Hatteras at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and will depart from Ocracoke at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The crossing time to Ocracoke Village is about 70 minutes.

The Ocracoke Express reservation system isn’t up and running yet but should be in the next week or so, said Tim Hass, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.