Ferry to operate at reduced service

Published 2:31 pm Monday, July 1, 2024

Starting July 8, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Jamestown-Scotland Ferry will operate under a new schedule and reduced service until further notice due to current staffing levels among an industry-wide shortage of certified maritime positions.

The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry will continue to run 24 hours per day, seven days a week, transporting motorists for free in both directions across the James River between Surry and Jamestown. 

VDOT has adjusted the ferry schedule to provide at least one ferry boat running at all times. A second ferry boat will be added into service between 2 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each day.

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VDOT warns motorists should expect potential delays during these periods of reduced service and is encouraging drivers to use the free 511Virginia.org website and mobile app, or the free 511-integrated Waze GPS app, to check for the most up-to-date travel conditions to plan their routes before hitting the road. The VDOT 511 traffic cameras also provide views of current traffic queues from approximately 0.5 miles from the ferry boarding locations.

The reduction in service sparked concern from Del. Kim Taylor, R-Petersburg, and state Sen. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg, whose legislative districts include Surry.

“While I appreciate the Virginia Department of Transportation’s commitment to maintaining continuous 24-hour service despite staging challenges, I must express significant concerns on behalf of my constituents,” Taylor said on June 29. “The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry is a critical transportation link for residents of James City County and Surry County, providing essential connectivity across the James River. The reduction in service hours will inevitably impact our community in several profound ways.”

VDOT’s announced reduction in service “came as a shock” and “without public input and or alerting the state representatives of this community,” Aird said in a July 1 statement.

“The ferry is a lifeline for access to Surry County. As a driver for workers, economic development, and tourism, this abrupt change in the heart of the travel season is unreasonable,” Aird said. “Furthermore, this change can significantly compromise accessibility to critical healthcare resources. I will meet with VDOT immediately to assess this decision and voice the overwhelming concerns expressed to me by Surry County citizens.”

According to Taylor’s press release, she too plans to  work with VDOT, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sheppard “Shep” Miller III’s office, and Surry County officials to find an alternative solution.

Once on board the ferry, the trip is approximately 20 minutes. For more information on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry, including the full updated schedule, visit www.JSFerry.org.

VDOT is actively recruiting to fill the vacancies within the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry team. Qualified individuals can apply at https://etgi.fa.us8.oraclecloud.com/hcmUI/CandidateExperience/en/sites/CX_4005.