SWMI Water Taxi now running every weekend over Summer
ST. JOSEPH, Mi. -- The Southwest Michigan Water Taxi is back in service-- giving area residents and tourists a brand new way to explore St. Joe and Benton Harbor-- and it's completely free!
“What’s better than a free boat ride, right?” asked Jessica Boyd, Manager of Marketing and Communications at Cornerstone Alliance.
“I think the most general reaction of guys is ‘how much does it cost?’ And when we tell them free, they’re a little blown back by that," said Kyle Wallis, one of the boat captains for the taxi.
The Water Taxi is funded by Cornerstone Alliance, in partnership with the Southwest Michigan Tourist Council, the Southwest Michigan Cycle Boat, Holt Bosse, and the cities of St. Joe and Benton Harbor.
Boyd said “We partnered with Brady Cohen over at the Inn at Harbor Shores. We thought, ‘what better way to provide transportation and access over the water,’ which is one of our greatest resources here in Southwest Michigan.”
Riders will get to board the Water Taxi at one of three different stops along the river, starting at the Margaret B. Upton Arboretum-- giving them access to downtown St. Joe and Silver Beach-- with additional stops near Bread+Bar and Babe's Lounge in Benton Harbor and at the Inn at Harbor Shores.
A fourth stop at Tavern on the River will be added once the restaurant opens for the season.
The boat seats six passengers; life jackets are available for those passengers-- and are required for children twelve and under.
Cornerstone Alliance does not plan on adding any more stops to the taxi's route just yet-- though if the service is popular enough over the Summer, they could add more boats, shortening the wait between rides.
“It would be great if we had more boats. If there’s a high demand for riders then we need more space— so it would be great if more and more people came out to this initiative to provide more transportation," said Boyd. "Right now the stops run just about every hour, but I think an hour goes by pretty fast if you’re having a good time.”
The Water Taxi gives riders an opportunity to get out on the water-- even if they don't have a boat, or just don't want to pay the high gas prices.
“We thought it would be nice for the public to get out on the water this year, and not have to worry about any expenses like that to use their own personal boat," said Wallis. "It gets them out on the water, gets that water life going, and it also brings a little more business.”
“All around, its just an easy way to provide more access and more mobility for our community," said Boyd.
The Water Taxi will be running Friday to Sunday every weekend this summer-- as long as the weather permits it.
The Taxi's schedule and more information is available here: ExploreMIShore - Water Taxi