MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A new water taxi service is set to kick off next month.
The new Gulf Islands Ferry service will take riders from the day dock off the Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton to Anna Maria City Pier and Bridge Street Pier.
The ferry will begin servicing the area on Friday, Dec. 8, pending final approval. It will be available Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Officials said ride times between stops will range from 25 to 40 minutes.
The 50-foot open-air catamarans, named Miss Anna Maria and Downtown Duchess, can hold 48 passengers.
“We anticipate families parking in downtown Bradenton, hopping on the ferry at the downtown port located just off the riverwalk near Green Bridge and enjoying a beautiful boat ride out to the island,” said Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Elliott Falcione. “At the same time, visitors staying on the island can enjoy a leisure boat ride to downtown Bradenton to enjoy our amazing restaurants and attractions located on the mainland.”
A one-way ticket will cost $8 per person. Special pricing will be available for children and seniors.
Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge said he hopes to see the service expand in the future to include Palmetto, Cortez and Longboat Key.
“This has been talked about for decades and now it’s here. It’s just the beginning of something great,” he said. “The ferry system is a fantastic opportunity for residents and visitors—all paid for with tourist bed taxes.”
To learn more about the ferry service and to purchase tickets, visit Gulf Coast Water Taxi’s website.