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Available languages — Tag:route=ferry
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Public-images-osm logo.svg route = ferry
Ferry routes Edit or translate this description.
Group: Route
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasmay be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: in use

Displays the route of a ferry on sea. Ferries are a form of public transport that operate to connect road networks and to provide passenger service much like bus service. Some ferry systems consist of many routes while others are operated just to provide a convenient means visit an island or to cross a river or lake. Ferries may carry bicycles, cars, trucks and even rail cars while others only offer foot service.

How to map

Draw a way way from one ferry terminal to another and add route=ferry and name=*.

Use the route=ferry tag to show the route of a ferry. You can either use the tag a single way way drawn along the whole route, or on a relation relation containing several ways joined end-to-end.

The relation approach is a bit more complicated and is not strictly necessary for basic ferry routes represented by a single way, especially when it just crosses a river or canal. It is useful however for ferry routes, which need to share some ways which are denoting other features (e.g. waterways or other ferry routes) as it prevents duplicate ways. The relation approach is standard across other types of transportation routes (which usually spans many individual ways, representing many different roads etc). See Relations/Routes and some more details on Cycle routes for example.

The ferry route should start and end at a ferry terminal node amenity=ferry_terminal. At the same point also the access road ends. Between the terminal and the coastal line, there may be a pier way area man_made=pier which should be tagged with highway=*. Car ferries have often a bridge between the quay wall and the docking point, which is tagged with highway=* + bridge=yes.

The ferry route must not branch in the water, so it must always be drawn to the ferry dock. This is important for routing to work correctly.

route=ferry can be used for large car ferries as well as for small boats ferrying people over rivers and lakes or self operated ferries.

Tags to use in combination

Access restriction tags can be used to mark the type of ferry, such as:

  • motor_vehicle=* - Whether the ferry allows motor vehicles (trucks, cars, motorcycles, ...)
    • hgv=* - Whether the ferry allows heavy goods vehicles (freight trucks >3.5 tons)
    • motorcar=* - Whether the ferry allows motorcars
    • motorcycle=* - Whether the ferry allows motorcycles.
  • foot=* - Whether the ferry allows foot passengers.
    • wheelchair=* - Whether you can board in a wheelchair.
  • bicycle=* - Whether the ferry allows cyclists.
  • See access=* for other access restriction tags. Also see Map Features#Restrictions

Other possible combo tags:

  • operator=* - for the name of the operator of a ferry route
  • name=* - for the name of a ferry route
  • ref=* - for a reference number/code of a ferry route.
  • duration=* highly recommended for indicating how long the route takes ('00:05' is 5 minutes, '1:15' an hour fifteen, or '48:00' two days). Important to avoid large detours to avoid ferries for routers that underestimate the speed of ferries. OSRM and GraphHopper support this tag (on ways). Use HH:MM:SS, H:MM:SS, HH:MM, H:MM, MM, or M format.
  • interval=* recommended for indicating how often services run on the ferry route. Use HH:MM:SS, H:MM:SS, HH:MM, H:MM, MM, or M format. Example: A ferry that runs every half hour is given the tag interval=00:30 (interval=30 or interval=00:30:00 are also valid).
  • fee=* - if you have to pay to cross. toll=* is also used a lot for this.
  • opening_hours=* - when can you expect the service to be active? (only if the ferry operates on a regular schedule)
  • booking=* - yes: booking possible to avoid long waiting times and/or ensure service will run, no: first come, first serve, only: no passage without booking.
  • ferry=* - for the type of road the ferry route belongs to (used with the same values as highway=*).
  • ferry:cable=yes - Reaction ferry

Vehicle restrictions:

If you are using a relation, this should always have a 'type' tag, in this case type=route.

Related tags



Large car ferry
Solar ferry for bicyclists and pedestrians
Self operated cable ferry for pedestrians as part of the regional hiking network