If you are someone who enjoys taking the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, be prepared for changes to how much you will be paying in 2024.  These changes are not all increases as the Delaware River and Bay Authority explained at their Virtual Public Hearing that was held before the Christmas holiday weekend.

Cape May-Lewes Ferry from New Jersey shoreline
Photo from Google Maps

As explained by Director of Ferry Operations Heath Gehrke, rates are updated every other year to address rising costs of operations. In the DRBA Cape May-Lewes Ferry Fares Public Briefing, they revealed that the Ferry generates 14 Million in revenues compared to support operating expenses of 25 Million. That is only 60 percent of the Fares generated to cover the cost of operating the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.

Cape May-Lewes Ferry Entrance on Delaware side
Photo from Google Maps

The rate increases for one-way include:
*Vehicles under 25 feet to cost $1 more in-season (April 1st to October 31st)
*A $2 increase for vehicles measured between 25 feet and 44 feet in-season
*Vehicles over 45 feet will see a $3 increase
*An increase of $2 for shuttle fares
*No-show fee will increase from $10 to $25 for those who do not show up for their reservation to travel on the Ferry
*Non-reserved travelers will be charged a $2 handling fee
*Riders who want to receive Priority Boarding will be charged $5

Cape May Lewes Ferry New Jersey Entry lanes
Photo from Google Maps

As explained by Heath Gehrke during the Virtual Public Hearing, the rate increases do not apply to those who book a round-trip. The approximate savings for a round-trip is $11 and the goal of these changes is to incentivize pre-booking for Ferry trips. There was a high number of people who booked trips who did not show so this change is there to disincentivize reservation no-shows that create delays for departures.

Onboard the Cape May-Lewes Ferry
Photo from Canva Images

There are also decreases in costs coming for the 2024 season on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry that includes:
*A Loyalty Rewards Program allowing members to earn points they can redeem for future travel along with members receiving a free passenger or driver trip for every 10th trip made on the Ferry.
*Children ages 6 to 13 years old will see a decreased rate of $1 in both directions. Children under six years old are still Free to travel the ferry.
*Commercial Travel Accounts will see a decrease of 30% off all published fares for their vehicles

These decreased fares are new ways to create new incentives for families and business travelers. The more Family and Commercial Travel the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, the more money long-term the DRBA will generate while these individual customers will save money.

Cape May-Lewes Ferry Entrance Sign in New Jersey

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry and the Delaware River and Bay Authority do not receive taxpayer money or funding that goes to the New Jersey Department of Transportation or the Delaware Department of Transportation. Because they are independent of these government agencies, the DRBA must operate the Cape May-Lewes Ferry based on the revenues generated from the fares of their customers.  Sometimes the DRBA will receive Federal Transportation Grants, but that money comes infrequently depending on the application of grants process and is not something they can count on for operations.

Onboard the Cape May Lewes Ferry
Photo from Canva Images

These fare changes will be officially voted on by the Delaware River and Bay Authority Board of Trustees at their next meeting, then will go into effect starting April of 2024.  For more information about the Loyalty Rewards Program for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, you can visit their Program Customer Landing Page here.

Top 10 Things To Do This Off-Season in Cape May, NJ Area

Anyone who has lived in Cape May County knows that even though half the businesses close during the winter, the locals still love living in this area for many reasons. As someone who has lived in Cape May County for over 20 years, here are some of my favorite activities to do in the offseason:

Gallery Credit: Josh Hennig/Townsquare Media

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