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Thread: Ferry service thread

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Ferry service thread

    We recently enjoyed a day on Lake Erie's South Bass Island, taking in the little tourist town of Put-In-Bay. To get there you have to take a ferry, fly over in a small plane, or come over by private boat.

    There are two (2) ferry services going to Put-In-Bay. Miller's Ferry runs auto-carrying boats from the tip of Catawba Peninsula to the southern side of the island. Most visitors without a vehicle take The Jet Ferry, which leaves from Port Clinton (and, new this year, Sandusky).

    The fleet of Jets are big catamaran boats, probably carrying a couple hundred passengers. I have seen similar passenger ferries in other locales.

    During the trip to The Bay I mentioned to Katie that people in places like New York City use ferry services every day, going to and from work, etc. It would seem to me that the time on a ferry could be productive and relaxing. Perhaps read a good book, enjoy some people watching, listen to "private" music on headphones, play or work with a laptop, open the briefcase and finish those reports.

    With all of this in mind, some questions.

    Have you been on any ferry? Did you enjoy? Do you use ferry service regularly, perhaps to get to work and back? Have you done any kind of study of this interesting and often ignored transportation mode? Have you been involved in designing and/or planning of such a service?

    Finally.....I did not mention to Katie that during the trip I was thinking about how vulnerable these services would be to a terrorist attack. I am logical enough to know that my chances of meeting doctor death are much-much greater in my car. I was just thinking about the logistics of being ready for such an event.

    I await your thoughts.

    Bear
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    I have crossed three rivers on a car ferry:

    The Mississippi between the Missouri Bootheel and Western Kentucky.
    their website: http://www.dorena-hickmanferryboat.com/

    The Ohio River at Cave-in-Rock, Illinois.

    The Delaware River Mouth between Cape May, NJ and Lewes, Delaware.
    their website: http://www.capemaylewesferry.com/


    Interesting article from the Chicago Tribune:
    Illinois' 8 reasons to believe in ferries
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...ck=1&cset=true


    Good listing and links by State and ferry services at:
    http://apta.com/links/state_local/
    Oddball
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- I've taken the Brussles ferry mentioned in that article.

    There's also a ferry across Lake Michigan, from Manilowoc Wisconsion to Luddington Michigan. My family took it once and loved it.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian nuovorecord's avatar
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    I've spent a fair amount of time on ferry boats, ranging from small six-vehicle rafts crossing the Willamette River, to large multi-deck luxo liners serving Puget Sound in NW Washington and the Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia.

    Many Seattle workers live on one of the islands with ferry service in Puget Sound and use them as their primary commute method. Bainbridge and Vashon Islands are the most populated, I believe. I've always thought this would be a great way to get to work if one worked in Downtown Seattle. You can ride your bike or take a bus to the ferry terminal on the island, hop the ferry, grab a cup of Starbucks in the ferry's canteen, read your morning paper, catch another bus or walk to your office once you're on the mainland. The ferry ride is about 25-35 minutes and very beautiful.

    King County Metro tells me that there are a number of vanpools that form on the islands and drive onto the ferry. Since the origins and destinations of all the passengers may differ, the ferry trip give them the opportunity to switch vans. So, the ferry acts as a moving transfer center. Vanpools ride at a discounted fare on the ferries, thus giving an additional incentive to use them.

    Finally, if you look at a map of Portland, you'll see that the Willamette River bisects the city into east and west sides. I have often thought that a ferry service plying the river, shuttling passengers from points north and south to downtown would be a hit. But, as I understand it, several people have considered it, but it's never penciled out financially. But, in future years, I suspect it will get greater scrutiny, as the idea of building roads around here is tantamount to starting a civil war.
    "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." - Bill Clinton.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    During the trip to The Bay I mentioned to Katie that people in places like New York City use ferry services every day, going to and from work, etc. It would seem to me that the time on a ferry could be productive and relaxing. Perhaps read a good book, enjoy some people watching, listen to "private" music on headphones, play or work with a laptop, open the briefcase and finish those reports.
    Boston has a pretty decent network of ferries, both for commuters (Hingham, Hull, Quincy) and vacationers (Provincetown, Harbor Islands Park). There are also water taxis to and from the airport and waterfront. Most of the inner-harbor ferries are a colossal waste of money, with slow speeds and gigantic subsidies. The MBTA recently thinned its collection of water routes due to a persistent budget deficit. Commuting by boat would be fun and relaxing (except during storms), but a tad bit slow (almost excruciating).

    I, myself, have sailed on ferries to and from Bainbridge Island WA, Block Island RI, Orient Point NY, Provincetown MA, Martha's Vineyard MA, and Staten Island NY.
    Last edited by jmello; 24 Jul 2005 at 4:33 PM.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    It seems that ferries work in very rural areas (downstate Illinois) where economics can't justify bridges but demand is still high enough that a few people an hour would be willing to pay to cross, and in very urban areas where it isn't feasable to build enough bridges and tunnels to handle demand (Massachusettes Bay, San Francisco Bay, Pudget Sound, Hudson River, etc.)

    The third case which we don't seem to have in this country is ferries between two urban centers seperated by a large body of water, like the English Channel.

    I've often thought about commuter ferries in Chicago, but it just doesn't pan out in my mind. There isn't any possible acceptable origin along the coast that doesn't already have good enough transportation connections to Downtown to make the ferry redundant. If not for the train network you could make a case that one could take a ferry and avoid congestion (and maybe make something like Milwaukee to Chicago work out) but, there is train service all along the coast.

    The Fast Ferry between Toronto and Rochester or Buffalo may have worked had the NYS side actually have been an acceptable destination for Canadians, but I get the sense that, depending upon the time of day, one half of the leg would always be empty.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    The third case which we don't seem to have in this country is ferries between two urban centers seperated by a large body of water, like the English Channel.
    After being ejected from a dock in Portland, ME, a ferry company is proposing direct service from Boston to Nova Scotia. Their goal is to start sailing by the end of the summer. The plan for autos was nixed by Customs.

  8. #8
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    Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are connected to the mainland by a large ferry fleet, with vessels with car capacities up to 470 and passenger capacities up to 2100.

    http://www.bcferries.com/

    http://www.bcferries.com/files/image...p-mainland.gif




    Vancouver has two passenger ferries connecting to North Vancouver with a capacity of 400 that run every 15 minutes in each direction.

    It recently conducted a study of other potential routes, the Vancouver Harbour Passenger Marine Study. It includes a summary of similar ferry systems in NA.
    http://www.translink.bc.ca/files/pdf...Final_2004.pdf (9 Mb pdf)

    Moderator note:
    Leeched imaged changed to a url. User suspended 24 hours for image leeching on 7/25/05
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 25 Jul 2005 at 10:55 AM.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    My former province is crisscrossed by rivers. The ferries there are dominantly cable ferries.

    http://www.gnb.ca/0113/ferries/ferries-e.asp

    As a kid I remember taking the chi che maun ferry to manitoulin island

    http://www.ontarioferries.com/chi/

    Then there is the much lamented PEI ferry, that has been replaced by the confederation bridge. Only took it once. The annoyance of it was great, especially being the car to not make it on and having to wait 1.5 hours for the next ferry.

    http://www.gov.pe.ca/infopei/index.p...r=62093&lang=E
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    The Fast Ferry between Toronto and Rochester or Buffalo may have worked had the NYS side actually have been an acceptable destination for Canadians, but I get the sense that, depending upon the time of day, one half of the leg would always be empty.
    The ferry route was between Toronto and Rochester. The route was set for disaster from day one due to obvious reasons, notable customs, and Toronto's failure to get its terminal set up in time. Plus its still cheaper to drive between both cities.

    I've also heard that before that failure, there were trying to get a ferry terminal in Niagara County somewhere to the east of Old Ft. Niagara.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


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  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Southern Chile has plenty of Ferry services, one of the most important is the one to cross to Chiloé, that will soon be replaced by the Bicentenial Bridge. Ferries here are used to connect different parts of the Fjords region, and the road that goes to most cities and towns is usually fractured by these fjords and hence there's the need for ferries.

    There are big ferries that do longer routes from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales or Puerto Chacabuco (quite a long trip)

  12. #12
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    I take the ferry to work occasionally - too expensive to do it every day. It's about a ten minute ride from the Hoboken pier to Pier 11 on Wall St, too short to get any work done. Not that I want to anyway with that view out my window! There are a few Hudson River ferries and they are popular with the urbanites of Hoboken and Jersey City as well as the suburban commuters who prefer them to the PATH subway (though PATH is still nicer than most transit systems in the US).

    As to your second point, while certainly vulnerable, of all our urban transit systems ferries seem like the least likely target for terrorism, if only because of their relative isolation from the city, pedestrians and passerby and large stations where people gather. After the PATH station closed in the aftermath of 9/11 the ferries here did an outstanding job picking up the slack and keeping commuters off the roads. I love them - just wish there were more and cheaper!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I have been on several different fairies in Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington, Maryland, and New Jersey. The best were probably the ones in Seattle. This would be an enjoyable way to commute to work, but if they ever stopped running, the penninsual and islands would be a pain to live on.
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  14. #14
    Cyburbian chukky's avatar
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    We've got shiny blue catamarans - the CityCat, running the length of the river. I take them pretty regularly, its the same price as a bus from the Uni to the city, and a helluva lot nicer. It's not as fast as a bus .. mainly becuase the terminal at the UQueensland end is a million miles from everyhting else.. but i spose they couldnt choose where to put the river. But because of this, you can usually - with some elbowing - get a perch on the front deck, which is the whole point of taking it.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    The ferry route was between Toronto and Rochester. The route was set for disaster from day one due to obvious reasons, notable customs, and Toronto's failure to get its terminal set up in time. Plus its still cheaper to drive between both cities.

    I've also heard that before that failure, there were trying to get a ferry terminal in Niagara County somewhere to the east of Old Ft. Niagara.
    It is back up and running, for the time being.

    I forgot about another nice ferry, the one between halifax and dartmouth.

    http://www.halifax.ca/metrotransit/ferries.html
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    New York Harbor ferry system -

    http://www.panynj.gov/ferry/ferrymap12.gif
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  17. #17
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I too have been on the Put In Bay Ferries.

    Other ferries I've been on: Boblo Boats (RIP) from Detroit, Gibraltar and Amherstburg
    Mackinac Island (both from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace)
    Toronto Islands ferry
    St. Clair River Ferry from Moorestown Ont, to Marine City, MI
    Harsen's Island Ferry (from Algonac, MI to the Island)

    Even though several movies have portrayed ferry service in Detroit, Detroit has no passenger ferry service. One movie "Bird on a Wire" even went so far as to assume people take the Ferry from Detroit to Racine, Wisconsin! There has been talk of using a passenger ferry serivce as a mitigation measure when I-94 gets reconstructed.

    Next week I may be on the new Ferry between Muskegon, MI and Milwaukee, WI. This service gets you across the lake in only two hours. I may have a report on it at the Michigan planner fest.

  18. #18
    the bay area is planning a major expansion of service:

    http://www.watertransit.org/

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    It is back up and running, for the time being.
    I forgot about that. I remember the city of Rochester was trying to buy the boat.

    Give it time, it will flop unless the state plops money into it from the failed NY Jets Stadium.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


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  20. #20
    Member steveanne's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    I forgot about that. I remember the city of Rochester was trying to buy the boat.

    Give it time, it will flop unless the state plops money into it from the failed NY Jets Stadium.

    The funny thing is, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, there are more Canadians visiting Rochester than Rochesterians visiting Canada.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    This Bear has been on the following ferries:

    Jet Express (Numerous trips, goes from Port Clinton, OH to Put-In-Bay, OH, out on South Bass Island.)

    Sonny's Ferry (When the Lonz Winery was still open on Middle Bass Island, this ferry ran from Put-In-Bay to Lonz. Lonz closed a few years ago and I am not sure if this ferry still runs to Middle Bass.)

    Miller's Ferry (Runs from the tip of the Catawba Peninsula, OH, to the south side of South Bass Island)

    Bob-Lo-Ferry.....SS Canadiana (This huge passenger ferry used to run from downtown Toledo, across Lake Erie, up to BobLo Island, near Detroit. In hurricane-strength winds, about 1958, it hit a Toledo bridge and went out of service, never to operate around Toledo again.)

    Lake Champlaign (I crossed Lake Champlaign from New York State to Burlington, VT......mid-1970's.)

    Straits Of Mackinac (Before the beautiful Mackinac Bridge was built the ferries that crossed the Straits of Mackinac, between Michigan's two peninsulas, were the only way for a Michigan car to cross. As a young Bear we went across a couple times in the early 1950's.)

    Seattle To Olympic Peninsula (I took this ferry westbound, back in 1976, leaving from a downtown Seattle mooring.)

    Bear
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian ikeaboi's avatar
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    I've been on one ferry a number of times that is extremely redundant, however it's still nice. There is a ferry service during the summer on Chautauqua Lake, NY from the village of Stow on the west side to Bemus Point on the east. The ferry has been in service for over 175 years, and even though there is now a bridge right next to the route, people are still willing to take it in numbers high enough to keep it afloat.

  23. #23
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    Pelee Island

    Bear mentioned the ferry from Ohio to the Bass Islands -- similarly I recently took the ferry from Leamington, ON to Pelee Island. Very nice place that Pelee Island is, so I can imagine the Bass Islands are nice too.

    The only thing that gets me about ferry travel is that for seemingly short distances it can take a heck of a lot of time to move if you don't have a top notch boat. The ferry from Leamington to Pelee Island was over 90 minutes, yet I could SEE the island from the shore. For a seemingly spatially short trip like that why not build a bridge?

  24. #24
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner

    Next week I may be on the new Ferry between Muskegon, MI and Milwaukee, WI. This service gets you across the lake in only two hours. I may have a report on it at the Michigan planner fest.
    I just found out about this and think it's really neat! (I believe it takes 2.5 hours though, a half hour shorter than the luddington ferry, but it's crossing a wider part of the lake). I'm now thinking about doing a weekend trip soon: Amtrak to Milwaukee, the ferry to Muskegon, my bike to Grand Rapids, and Amtrak back to Chicago.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    I just found out about this and think it's really neat! (I believe it takes 2.5 hours though, a half hour shorter than the luddington ferry, but it's crossing a wider part of the lake).
    SS Badger: Manitowoc - Ludington = 4 hour crossing time
    Lake Express: Milwaukee - Muskegon = 2.5 hour crossing time

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