July 27, 2020 - Chatham Area Transit has been awarded $1.28 million in grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration for a new ferry boat.
The new 149-passenger ferry will expand the Savannah Belles Ferry fleet from four to six boats, following the arrival of another 149-passenger ferry funded by a grant awarded in 2019.
The new ferries are expected to help accommodate increased demand expected from hotel and residential development projects along the Savannah Riverwalk and from the planned expansion of the Savannah Convention Center on Hutchinson Island.
Providing marine staff with another higher capacity vessel also will allow for the ferries to be taken out of the water for required routine maintenance while still having enough boats for peak service.
CAT’s ferry system links downtown Savannah to Hutchinson Island by providing free passage across the Savannah River. The system currently operates on a modified schedule from 7a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. The service provided more than 750,000 passenger trips a year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ferry boats can be boarded along the riverwalk behind City Hall and on the east end at Morrell Park near the Marriott Riverfront hotel. On Hutchinson Island, the boats can be boarded at the Savannah Convention Center, next to the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.
The new water ferry funded by the 2019 grant is expected to join CAT’s fleet and begin operating in late 2021. The ferry funded by the latest grant is expected to arrive in mid to late 2022.