Newporters and tourists may have the option to take a fast ferry to Block Island next summer. The Newport City Council received a communication from the Interstate Navigation Company detailing its plan to switch from a conventional ferry running out of Fort Adams to a fast ferry making trips from Perrotti Park.
According to a letter to the City Manager from an Interstate representative, the company has purchased a fast ferry, which could be ready for service by June 2013.
The ferry was built in 2000 and will undergo “substantial upgrades.” It has approximately a 250-person capacity.
The Block Island Ferry currently runs seasonally from Fort Adams to Block Island. The company plans to discontinue the run to operate the fast ferry from the floating docks at Perrotti Park.
“In order for this new fast ferry service to be successful, the ferry will need to operate from a downtown Newport location,” the letter reads. ”. . . It is crucial that the ferry be in a position to immediately generate ridership between Newport and Block Island. Interstate does not believe that this ferry service can be successful if it is operated from Fort Adams.”
Tickets would be sold at the downstairs counter of the Harbormaster’s building, as well as online.
When the ferry ran in the summer from Fort Adams, the ferry left once in the morning and returned in the evening. The trip takes approximately two hours each way. The fast ferry will take an hour or less each way.
“This will allow Interstate to make multiple runs between Newport and Block island each day in the summer,” the letter reads.
A definite scheduled has not been completed, but the ferry service anticipates two to three trips per day, including morning and afternoon trips.
“We are hopeful that this new ferry operation will be beneficial, not just to Interstate, but will also be of substantial benefit to tourism in Newport. It will provide another recreational opportunity for visitors to Newport because they will be able to leave Newport in the morning, visit Block Island, and return without having to devote the entire day to the trip.”
Interstate believes it will also encourage vacationers on Block Island to visit Newport.