Ferry added to Hyde County run

Published 11:03 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2007

By Staff
An ‘experiment,’ director says
News Editor
Travelers to and from Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks this summer won’t have to wait as long between ferry trips.
The N.C. Ferry Division will run two extra boats between Hyde County’s mainland and island beginning May 22 and lasting until Labor Day in September. That route is always assigned one additional vessel to accommodate the summer tourist season, but this year, another one, which would normally go to Cedar Island, will instead make trips in Hyde County.
The experiment “is something we’ve been trying to get for years,” said Margie Brooks, executive director of the Hyde County Chamber of Commerce. “We think someone is finally listening.”
What the move amounts to is four departure options from Swan Quarter and four from Ocracoke. The added vessel will make a 10 a.m. departure from the island and a 1 p.m. departure from the mainland.
On the old summer schedule, if a traveler didn’t leave Swan Quarter on the 7 a.m. run or the 9:30 a.m. run, he or she had two choices. The person could either drive another two hours and catch the Hatteras ferry to get to the island or could camp in Swan Quarter until the next scheduled boat departed at 4 p.m. By the same token, if a traveler on the island didn’t get up early enough to catch the 6:30 a.m. boat off there, the earliest he or she could leave Ocracoke for a direct route to Swan Quarter would have been 12:30 p.m.
Swan Quarter ferry manager Mitchell Newman said Monday he thought the extra runs would be a boost to the mainland town that lost businesses and residents after Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
Cahoon said it was Newman’s pitch that convinced him to put another boat in Hyde County for the summer.
Cahoon said he doesn’t have a quota in mind that the runs must meet in order to keep another boat.
Newman said traffic from Hyde County’s mainland to its island increases by 80 percent during the summer, so he thinks the extra runs will be worthwhile.