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The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry takes travelers on SH 87 between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula. One vessel is in operation 24 hours per day. A second vessel will be placed in service at 6:30 a.m. After this departure, the two vessels will operate based on traffic volumes, and will space themselves to carry traffic as efficiently and safely as possible. A third vessel will be placed in service during the afternoon period if necessary. Up to five vessels may be operated for summer and holiday traffic.

Vehicles should not exceed 80,000 pounds, may have a maximum length of 65 feet, a maximum height of 13.5 feet and a maximum width of 8.5 feet.

To view current ferry wait times and live cameras, visit the Houston Transtar website. To receive updates and the latest news regarding the ferry, follow Galveston Ferry on Twitter.

For additional information or special needs, please call (409) 795-2230.

Night Schedule

Departs Galveston


Departs Bolivar


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#2 Ferry

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Galveston Ferry Tweets!

Ferry service has been a part of the Texas transportation system since the 19th century when the skiff, The Tarpon, began operating from Galveston Island. Later, two barges plied between Port Bolivar and Galveston. These early operations were commercial ventures and only made the trip when they had paying customers. There were no published or regularly scheduled operations.

In 1929 the first regularly scheduled ferry service between Port Bolivar and Galveston Island was established by a privately owned company. At the end of 1929 the company sold its two ferries to Galveston County and the county operated the ferry service for about 6 months. Galveston County petitioned the state to operate the ferries and then sold the two vessels to the State of Texas in April 1930.

The first ferry operated by the State of Texas left Port Bolivar on July 1, 1934. Texas operated the ferry service toll-free for approximately six months, but the service was so popular that Galveston County officials asked the state to impose a 25 cent charge to reduce traffic congestion. The 25 cent toll continued, except for a brief experimental period in 1934, until 1949. Since then, the ferry operation has been operated as a toll-free service.

In 1967 a second operation began providing ferry service across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel between Port Aransas and Harbor Island. Prior to becoming part of the state service, the ferry was operated on a fee basis by Nueces County.

The ferry port facilities, staging areas and visitor facilities were reconstructed in 1977 and upgraded again in 1994.

Current Operations
The peak months for ferry use are June, July and August. Throughout the year, more than 8 million people use the TxDOT ferry system. The greatest number of passengers carried on a single day was July 3, 1994 when 43,472 people boarded Galveston Island to Port Bolivar ferries. The most vehicles transported on a single day occurred a year earlier on July 4, 1993 when 12,733 vehicles were carried.

Galveston Island to Port Bolivar
The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry is the bridge between two segments of State Highway 87. South of IH-10, State Highway 87 is the only highway around Galveston Bay. The free ferry service provided by TxDOT is the only way motorists can cross the waterway between Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island.

The ferry service is critical to the residents of Bolivar Peninsula when a hurricane threatens. The ferries are the primary means of evacuation through Galveston to the causeway and the mainland. Ferries continue crossing the channel until high winds and tides make their mission unsafe. The boats are then secured in their moorings at the Galveston landing facility.

The 2.7 mile trip takes approximately 18 minutes to cross one of the busiest waterways in the world. Through the Bolivar Roads Channel flows the commerce of the Port of Houston, the nations largest inland port, as well as other Galveston and Trinity Bay communities. Approximately 7,000 ships visit the Port of Houston each year.

The ferry operation consists of multiple boats, each of which can carry approximately 70 vehicles, 500 passengers and six crewmembers. Each ferry is capable of carrying eight 18-wheel trucks weighing 80,000 pounds each. All of the boats are double-ended with a pilothouse on each end, and the Captain changes from one pilothouse to the other to go in the opposite direction.

Hours of Operation
The Ferry runs 24 hours. This is a free service.