Delaware Public Media

Cape May-Lewes Ferry fare increase not related to bridge toll hike

Feb 24, 2019

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry is raising some vehicle fares this season.

 


One-way fares for vehicles between April and October currently range from $34 to $116. They will all go up by $1 starting April 1.

There will also be a new fare category for three-wheeled motorcycles or motorcycles with trailers.

But fares for some groups will be cheaper. First responders will get a new “Blue and Red” discount, and fares for children ages 6-13 will be free during the off-season.

“Typically families tend to travel during the holiday periods in November, December and early in the new year. What we’re trying to do is make it more feasible for those families to use the ferry service during that time period,” said Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) spokesman Jim Salmon.

 

The Ferry runs on a revenue deficit that is subsidized by tolls from the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which is also run by DRBA.

Salmon says the Ferry's annual deficit is around $8 million. The new fare increase is expected to reduce the deficit by about $250,000 a year.

“You’re always trying to get additional revenue through your operations to cover that deficit. Most ferries throughout the country operate at a deficit and are supported by a state transportation authority,” said Salmon.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a toll increase at the Delaware Memorial Bridge last year — in part because some of the revenue would go to fund capital improvement projects at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.

A modified toll increase for the bridge was approved by DRBA this week.

Salmon says the Ferry fare increase was in the works before the Bridge toll hike was modified and is completely separate from the capital improvement budget.  

According to DRBA, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry fare rates were last adjusted in 2016. Those changes included an increase of $2 in-season and $1 off-season to all vehicle fares and the addition of a 25-trip passenger pass for $150.