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February 23, 2012
Come March 1, there will be 5 fewer runs on the Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch ferry route. In its announcement today, the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division said that cutting the 5 runs would save about $58,128 in labor and $48,596 in fuel per year.
Three of the departures to be cut are from the Cherry Branch side: the 5:25a, 10:25a and 12:45a. From Minnesott, the 5:45a and 10:25a runs will be ending. Some other departure times have been altered by a few minutes. The cuts taking hold March 1 would leave 60 runs per day, 30 from each side.
Departing Cherry Branch Departing Minnesott Beach The schedule above begins March 1, 2012 5:05am 5:25am 5:45am 6:10am 6:10am 6:45am 6:45am 7:15am 7:15am 7:45am 7:45am 8:15am 8:15am 8:45am 8:45am 9:15am 9:15am 9:45am 9:45am 10:15am 10:15am 10:45am 10:45am 11:15am 11:15am 11:45am 11:45am – 12:15pm 12:15pm 1:15pm 1:15pm 1:45pm 1:45pm 2:15pm 2:15pm 2:45pm 2:45pm 3:15pm 3:15pm 3:45pm 3:45pm 4:15pm 4:15pm 4:45pm 4:45pm 5:15pm 5:15pm 6:15pm 5:45pm 7:15pm 6:45pm 8:15pm 7:45pm 9:15pm 8:45pm 10:15pm 9:45pm 11:45pm 10:45pm – 12:15am
A ferry crosses the Neuse River in the early morning hours. Two of those runs before 6a are being cut as of March 1.
Ferry Division spokeswoman Lucy Wallace says this is happening because the budget passed by the legislature last June “cut our operational costs.”
Would cutting back on those runs and saving $106,000 a year fend off the tolls that are to be imposed on April 1? Wallace said it wouldn’t.
“It’s two separate issues,” she said, noting the budget’s demand that the Cherry Branch-Minnesott riders pay a toll was a mandate apart from the order to cut costs.
She says that in making the cuts, the Ferry Division took in to account “historical data and traffic figures.” One example is the about-to-end 12:45a run from Cherry Branch. Wallace says that over the course of a half year, it was averaging 1.5 cars per run.
Schedule cuts are also coming to the free ferry at Currituck as well as to some of the routes serving Ocracoke.