FERRY (from the same root as that of the verb "to fare," to journey or travel, common to Teutonic languages, cf. Ger. fahren; it is connected with the root of Gr., way, and Lat. portare, to carry), a place where boats ply regularly across a river or arm of the sea for the conveyance of goods and persons. The word is also applied to the boats employed (ferry boats). In a car-ferry or train-ferry railway cars or complete trains are conveyed across a piece of water in vessels which have railway lines laid on their decks, so that the vehicles run on and off them on their own wheels. In law the right of ferrying persons or goods across a particular river or strait, and of exacting a reasonable toll for the service, belongs, like the right of fair and market, to the class of rights known as franchises. Its origin must be by statute, royal grant, or prescription. It is wholly unconnected with the ownership or occupation of land, so that the owner of the ferry need not be proprietor of the soil on either side of the water over which the right is exercised. He is bound to maintain safe and suitable boats ready for the use of the public, and to employ fit persons as ferrymen. As a correlative of this duty he has a right of action, not only against those who evade or refuse payment of toll when it is due, but also against those who disturb his franchise by setting up a new ferry, so as to diminish his custom, unless a change of circumstances, such as an increase of population near the ferry, justify other means of passage, whether of the same kind or not. See also Water Rights.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)