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Available languages — Tag:route=ferry
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Public-images-osm logo.svg route = ferry
Ferry routes Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
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

This tag is used on relations or ways which map the route of a ferry or water bus on sea, rivers or other waterways. 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.

route=ferry can be used for large ferries carrying passengers, bicycles, cars, trucks and even rail cars. It can be used as well as for small boats ferrying people over rivers and lakes or self operated ferries.

How to map

Use the route=ferry tag to show the route of a ferry.

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

How to map using a single way

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

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.


Key Value Comment
route ferry (mandatory)
motor_vehicle yes / no Whether the ferry allows motor vehicles (trucks, cars, motorcycles, ...).
hgv yes / no Whether the ferry allows heavy goods vehicles (freight trucks >3.5 tons).
motorcar yes / no Whether the ferry allows motorcars.
motorcycle yes / no Whether the ferry allows motorcycles.
bicycle yes / no Whether the ferry allows cyclists.
foot yes / no Whether the ferry allows foot passengers.
wheelchair yes / no Whether you can board in a wheelchair.
motorcycle yes / no (mandatory)
access * For other access restriction tags. Also see Map Features#Restrictions.
operator operator Name of the company that operates the route.
name individual name The name of the route or line.
ref reference The reference number/code of a ferry route.
duration 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 service 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 yes / no if you have to pay to cross. toll=* is also used a lot for this.
opening_hours opening_hours when can you expect the service to be active? (only if the ferry operates on a regular schedule)
booking yes / no / only 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
maxweight * Maximum weight of a vehicule.
maxlength * Maximum length of a vehicule.
maxwidth * Maximum width of a vehicule.
maxheight * Maximum height of a vehicule.

How to map using a relation

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 necessary however for ferry routes sharing some ways which are denoting other features (e.g. waterways or other ferry routes) as it prevents duplicate ways. It is highly recommended to avoid parallel ways and to prefer the use of relations sharing some of their ways.

The relation approach is standard across other types of transportation routes (which usually spans many individual ways, representing many different roads etc). The relation can be a member of a route_master relation. See Relations/Routes and some more details on Buses for example.

All the tags and specifications described above for the single way are valid for a relation.

A specific tag must however be added :

Key Value Comment
type route If you are using a relation, this should always have a 'type' tag, in this case type=route. If the route is on a single way, don't use this tag.

Members of the relation

Way/node Role Recurrence? Discussion
way empty Zero or more The ways making up the route, in order and connected. In accordance with PTv2, the empty role should be used. These ways should have the tag route=ferry.
node stop Two or more Ferry terminals (amenity=ferry_terminal). The order of the members in the relation should be identical to the order in the timetable, and added in order at the beginning of the relation. These nodes should have the tags amenity=ferry_terminal + public_transport=stop_position + ferry=yes. They must belong to a way route=ferry member of the relation, and ideally be connected to a road network.
node area platform Zero or more A pier (man_made=pier) or an area for boarding. The order of the members in the relation should be identical to the order of the stops in the timetable, and added in order with the stops. These items should have the tag public_transport=platform.

Related tags