Water taxi scuttled due to lack of use
Lasting a mere two months, a water shuttle program aimed at providing seasonal transport across Lake Tahoe has floundered due to paltry ticket sales and an apparent lack of cooperation among marina and dock owners.
Mechele Duhamel, a spokeswoman for the Tahoe Diver’s Conservancy and Get On Tahoe – the organizations who spearheaded the M/V Blue Warrior water taxi – said the 36-foot, 20-passenger boat was sold earlier this month to Lake Tahoe Boat Rental, a charter business out of Tahoe Keys Marina on the South Shore.
The vessel – intended to be an alternative north-to-south, east-to-west water transport – launched June 1 and charged $35 per person for round trip shuttles and $110 for a lakeshore water tour.
“Not a lot of people knew about us,” Duhamel said “And for $35, a lot of people prefer to get in their cars than get on a water shuttle.”
Another major detraction for customers, Duhamel said, were access issues that required customers to board and disembark the Warrior via a dinghy at various locations, due to docking restrictions and buoy placement.
That hampered customers who were less mobile, she said, including the elderly, handicapped or young children.
“There’s got to be public cooperation to get people to and from these piers,” she said.
Duhamel said in a previous interview that TDC took out a $20,000 loan from a private investor out of San Jose, Calif., to fund the project. Despite selling the boat, Duhamel said the venture will end in the red after maintenance and insurance costs.