UPDATE June 5 -- The City of Jacksonville is purchasing two water taxi's Friday and plans to have them in service Saturday, according to said Chief Administrative Officer Karen Bowling. Water taxi service was expected to end Friday, but after downtown hotel operators and other businesses voiced concern, the city was able to come up with a solution.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In less than two weeks, the Jacksonville Water Taxi (JWT) is shutting down.
HarborCare has notified the City of Jacksonville that it will suspend water taxi services after the expiration of their current contract with the city. The company says the city rejected their bid to continue service. The notice says the service does not meet the required number of minimum seats. JWT has less than 40 seats per boat.
The city says the Jacksonville Parks department plans to rebid and restart water taxi services as soon as possible.
Bobby Scott says he's lived in Jacksonville for 14 years and has taken the Water Taxi Downtown a few times.
"I could park my vehicle down here instead of riding across the Main Street Bridge with the evening traffic, the peak hours," said Scott. "I just on the boat and go for a little ride."
The water taxi has also been a great attraction for tourists who shop, dine, or sight-see Downtown. And definitely for the locals, on game days.
There are usually five stops Downtown, but two are closed for renovations. Currently, it stops at The Landing, Friendship Fountain, and Metropolitan Park Marina. The service runs seven days a week. It's been an affordable and alternate form of transportation for hundreds, but that ship has sailed.
JWT will continue its normal hours of operations until June 6.
The downtown water taxi is sailing off into the sunset June 6.