The Cape May-Lewes Ferry has seen vehicle and passenger counts return to — and in some months exceed — pre-pandemic levels.
Vehicle crossings during the month of October reached the highest number since 2007, while October’s passenger count reached the highest number since 2008.
Ferry officials credit the rebound, at least in part, to passengers feeling safe on the ferry when compared against other forms of travel, despite the summer uptick in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant.
“Over 90% of passengers surveyed indicated that they felt very safe riding the ferry,” said Heath Gehrke, director of ferry operations at the Delaware River and Bay Authority. “One advantage we have over other modes of transportation is that — for the most part — the trip across the Delaware Bay can be an outdoor experience, where they can enjoy the bay breezes and fresh air with plenty of distance from other passengers.”
Gehrke said he was encouraged by ticket sales during the summer months and even more relieved to see that the upward trend has continued through the fall. Vehicle traffic rose 12% over 2019 highs in October and passenger traffic climbed 5% over the same period.
“The ferry system remains a preferred mode of transportation for visitors and residents alike as they travel to the many destinations on either side of Delaware Bay,” Gehrke said. “While these trends support broader travel and tourism patterns, the widespread recognition of the ferry system as a safe way to travel has no doubt helped us achieve these near historical highs.”
Owned and operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the Cape May–Lewes Ferry is open year-round and has carried more than 43 million passengers since its inception on July 1, 1964.
Raised in Sussex County, Charlie Megginson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Charlie previously served as a Legislative Aide within the Delaware State Senate. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Delaware Submarine Association, which serves as the civilian support organization for the USS Delaware, Delaware’s namesake warship. To contact Charlie with story ideas or comments, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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