The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry operating season now is expected to end Sept. 4.
The season, previously slated to end on July 31, has been extended due to popular demand and anticipated funding in next year’s state budget, North Carolina Department of Transportation officials announced last week.
“This is great news for visitors and businesses on Ocracoke,” Ferry Division Interim Director Jed Dixon said in a statement. “This extension will give summer visitors to the Outer Banks a chance to experience the fastest, easiest way to take a day trip to Ocracoke Island.”
While the vessel will be out of service starting Tuesday for a few days for previously scheduled maintenance takes place, the Ocracoke Express will resume its daily schedule through Sept. 4.
The passenger ferry will leave Hatteras at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and leave Ocracoke at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The Ocracoke Express, now in its fifth season, is a 70-minute trip between Hatteras and Silver Lake Harbor in Ocracoke Village. On Ocracoke, there is a free tram operated by Hyde County to transport visitors around the village to shops, restaurants, accommodations and attractions.
Travelers can make advanced reservations at www.ncferry.org or by phone at 1-800-BY-FERRY.to ride the passenger-only ferry allows and skip the lines for the vehicle ferry.
More than 75,000 people have ridden the Ocracoke Express over its previous four seasons. Surveys about the service have been overwhelmingly positive, officials said.
Vehicle ferries between Hatteras and Ocracoke will continue to operate on their current schedule.