Lynn-to-Boston ferry celebrates second year


May 9, 2015
By Thor Jourgensen/The Daily Item

The sun was shining, the gulls were swooping with the breeze and the Lynn commuter ferry stood ready at the pier Friday as local officials gathered to preview the ferry’s second season beginning May 18.

“Critics said Lynn will never have a ferry,” Jim Cowdell, executive director of the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corporation, said in remarks to assembled legislators, business leaders and press. “Then they shifted gears and said, well, a ferry will never work in Lynn. But when we started, Boston Harbor Cruises said if we had 10,000 riders; that’s a home run. Last year, we had 13,000.”

State Sen. Thomas McGee speaks at the reception for the ferry opening at the Blossom Street Extension in Lynn on Friday.

Sen. Thomas McGee

State Sen. Thomas McGee speaks at the reception for the ferry opening at the Blossom Street Extension in Lynn on Friday. Owen O'Rourke/Item photo

The Lynn-to-Boston commuter ferry returns May 18 to run through the remainder of the summer, its second year of a two-year pilot program. The schedule will remain the same as last year: three departures Monday through Friday at 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. from the Blossom Street Extension ramp in Lynn to Central Wharf in Boston (by the New England Aquarium). There are three return trips from Central Wharf at 7:15 a.m., 5:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

The trip takes about 30 minutes and costs $7 each way and $3.50 for seniors and children ages 3 to 12. MBTA Zone 2 passes or higher are honored. There is free parking for about 250 cars at the Blossom Street Extension dock. The boat is run by Boston Harbor Cruises.

For its first week, however, all trips will be free. The first 100 riders on May 18 will receive a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card and a free copy of The Item.

And although this is the second year of operation, Cowdell and others said the project had been in the works for nearly a decade, and they hoped that it would continue just as long if not longer.

“There is the opportunity to build upon this success; make it a year-round option, create opportunities for more trips, create new economic opportunities here,” State Sen. Tom McGee said. He then noted that real estate advertisements for area homes are touting easy access to the ferry. “When realtors are starting to push that in (advertisements) you know it’s a really good thing.”

In fact, nearly 200 riders petitioned last year to keep the ferry opened longer into the season.

“I see bigger and better things happening with this,” McGee, who has pushed for the ferry for years, continued. “Let’s make sure this is a grand slam this summer, and let’s make sure that next year we’re talking about year-round service.”

Louis Elisa, head of the state’s Seaport Advisory Council, said that the ferry was a prime example of a public/private partnership.

“We are now standing in a spot that is a destination,” Elisa said. He then mentioned the city’s plans to construct a ferry terminal building with a restaurant on the second floor. “If you don’t have reservations, you should book them now,” Elisa joked. “It’s good to make the seacoast a destination.”

And not just local officials were eagerly anticipating the first voyage.

“We’ll be using it for commuting, a day trip, a nice boat cruise,” said Khafi Rogers of Lynn, who was with his girlfriend Nikki Wilson. “I hope it grows. I won’t have to drive into Boston anymore, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

Cyrus Moulton can be reached at

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