Ferry FAQs

Find the answers to your most pressing questions about the Local Motion Bike Ferry!

What does it cost to ride the Bike Ferry?

The Island Line Bike Ferry runs on donations. We depend on our passengers to be generous and suggest a $5 one-way and $10 round trip donation for passage. The Bike Ferry has become a true Vermont destination; routinely carrying over 17,000 passengers a season hailing from every state in the union and over 30 countries. With success comes the additional cost of staffing, fuel, and boat maintenance to accommodate the growing volume riders. Local Motion is a non-profit, and it costs more than $200,000 each season to run the Ferry for just over 100 days of service. 

Friend of the Ferry donors, our local sponsors, and our partners at VTrans all help to provide additional critical support for Ferry operations and to ensure that Everyone Rides!

What's the distance across the Cut?

The Cut is 200-feet wide.

From The Cut, going onto the Champlain Islands, where can we get something to eat?

There are many options for food up near South Hero, and the Dockside Ambassador or Deckhands will gladly point you in the right direction.  In South Hero you will find brewery, a winery, creemee stands, orchards, burgers, sandwiches and even some fine dining. Once you get to the greater Burlington or South Hero area, try using our interactive map to find wonderful places to eat, drink, stay and to just find your way around.

Do you sell food or water at the Ferry?

We do not sell food at the Ferry (the closest options are in South Hero).  Please be sure that you bring plenty of water on your ride. There is no potable water along the causeway, and we have limited supply onboard.

Can the Bike Ferry accommodate different types bikes?

Yes, Bike Ferry can take all kinds of bikes.  We can accommodate tandem bikes, adaptive bikes, bike trailers, tag-a-longs, e-bikes, and cargo bikes.  

Pets?  Pedestrians?

You are welcome to take the Ferry even without a bike!  The $5 one way suggested fare donation remains the same. Dogs are welcome on the Ferry.  They must be leashed and well-behaved. Be aware that there are often children riding on the Ferry. We cannot take horses across on the Ferry; the land on the north side of the Causeway belongs to the Department of Fish and Wildlife which prohibits horses on their land. We will not take any gasoline powered vehicles, as they are prohibited from the Causeway.

What if I get a flat tire riding on the Causeway?

We can help you out!  The Bike Ferry is stocked with a small supply of tubes and a bicycle pump.  We ask for a $10 donation for a new tube, and the staff is more than happy to help you change out the float tube for the new one.

What if I rent a bike at Local Motion’s Trailside Center, ride to The Cut, take the Ferry, and while riding on the Islands, my bike breaks down?

Please call the Trailside Center (802-652-2453) for guidance and they’ll help you. Whether you’re near the Ferry, or all the way in South Hero, we maintain a small fleet of conventional bikes in various locations (even one the boat) that will get you back. 

How about bathrooms? My daughter has to go…

There is a port-o-let on the north side of the Cut, about ½ mile from the Ferry dock.  And on the south side, there are restrooms at Airport Park, 4 miles south from the southern ferry dock.


Swimming off the Causeway is some of the best in Lake Champlain!  Be careful getting in and out, the rocks can get very slippery when they are wet.  And like any swimming situation, be sure you know how deep it is before you jump off a rock.  Do not swim at the Cut near the docks - boat traffic gets very busy and it can be dangerous to swim around that many operating boats.

CAUTION: swimming off the causeway is at your own risk. There are NO lifeguards on duty at any time along the length of the causeway.

What are those little black creatures running around the rocks? Are they black squirrels?

No, they’re minks.  Minks are a common species in Vermont and are one of the most aquatic members of the weasel family, so they love living near the lake.  

What if the weather blows up, or lightning strikes nearby?

We run in all kinds of weather, and the ferry is capable in winds of up to about 30 mph depending on direction. We WILL temporarily close for lightning storms.  We keep close tabs on the weather in this exposed area; if we choose to close down for an entire day we have an Emergency Closing Plan protocol of informing the public – via our website, with signs posted at both ends of the Causeway, and as a phone message at Local Motion.  It is the sole responsibility of our licensed captains to determine safe operating conditions and when a closure is warranted. If you’re worried about the weather, feel free to call the Bike Ferry line to find out if we are open: (802) 861-2700 ext. 2.            

Why “The Cut?”

The original Island Line Railroad was built in 1899 connecting Rutland, Vt. and Montreal. As construction moved northward a three mile lake crossing was constructed from marble quarried in Rutland to connect the shores of Colchester and South Hero, Vermont. To allow for boat traffic from one side of the "causeway" to the other, a gap was created and a swing bridge installed that allowed the train to cross over. The bridge was opened and closed for boat traffic by railroad employees who lived in a house at the base of the bridge. When the railroad ceased operation in 1961, the bridge was dismantled leaving a 200-foot gap in the Causeway. This gap came to be known as “the Cut.”  The present day Island Line Rail Trail is a thirteen mile bike and recreation path traveling along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain between Oakledge Park in Burlington and South Hero, Vermont. Local Motion began Bike Ferry service across the Cut in 2005 providing the seasonal connection between the Greater Burlington area and the Champlain Islands.