Water taxis play greater role in local transit options
by Mary Chris Jaklevic
Long considered primarily a tourist attraction, Chicago’s water taxis are gaining popularity among commuters, who find them quicker, cheaper and more pleasant than buses and cabs.
“It’s just a little 10-minute vacation in the morning,” said Glen Ellyn resident Suzanne Holtz, a market researcher at C+R Research in River North, who started cruising to work on water taxis a year and a half ago.
The city’s two water taxi companies point to service expansions and wider awareness, partly because of more aggressive marketing. Some commuters are also deciding to dodge street congestion caused by the massive Wacker Drive reconstruction project.
“This year has been so far a record year for us,” said Andrew Sargis, manager of the Chicago Water Taxi operated by Wendella Boats, which began offering commuter service in 1962.
Shoreline Sightseeing launched a commuter business in 2009, partly as an amenity for the buildings where it docks its boats, company Vice President Matt Collopy said. He said the service has steadily gained customers and broke even for the first time this year.