Big demand for revived ferry across the Clyde
The link between Govan and Partick in Glasgow is expected to have carried around 30,000 people this summer.
The ferry, which originated in the 1730s, closed in the 1960s after the opening of the Clyde Tunnel to the west.
However, it was revived in 2013 as an experiment and proved a major hit during the Commonwealth Games the following year, when it attracted 28,634 passengers.
The June to September season was extended by two weeks last year and the operators expect 2017 to be its busiest yet.
Pat Cassidy, managing director of Govan Workspace, which provides accommodation for small businesses, said: “We’ve been running a free summer ferry shuttling between Govan and the Riverside Museum since 2013, and have been taken aback by its popularity.
“The 12-seater vessel has carried well over 100,000 people since it started. In the first trial year we operated for just four weeks but, such was the demand, we increased it to 11 or 12 in subsequent years.
“In 2016, we carried 25,000 passengers and have already passed that figure this year with a couple of weeks still to run.”
Mr Cassidy said the ferry, which takes less than a minute, had enabled Govan residents to more easily reach the transport museum and adjacent Tall Ship, the Glenlee.
He said it had also encouraged tourists to visit attractions in Govan such as the carved medieval Govan Stones in Govan Old Church, and the shipbuilding museum at Fairfield.
The £40,000 summer running cost of the ferry has been raised through crowdfunding, with a new appeal just launched to keep it operating for the last two weeks of the season until 25 September.
A further fundraiser will be required for the ferry to operate next year.
Susan Hanlin, project manager of the Central Govan Action Plan, said the ferry had helped make the case for a bridge over the river, which the council plans to build by 2020 with City Deal funding.
She said: “The Govan Ferry has proven to be hugely popular and there is an inspiring story behind it.
“Local people were convinced there was demand to revive the historic river crossing and that doing so would help put Govan back on the map. The level of demand has gone some way to evidencing the need for the proposed Govan-Partick Bridge, which would replace the ferry.”