Water taxis offer commute alternative

July 27, 2009 (CHICAGO) From May through the fall, companies offer water taxi service on the Chicago River for commuters and tourists alike. Water taxis are an alternative way of getting around Chicago, offering views of the city from the river and an environmentally friendly alternative to congested roadways.

Shoreline Water Taxi

Shoreline Sightseeing operates Shoreline Water Taxi, which has been running since 1996.

They offer service between the Museum Campus, Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue, Wells and Wacker and Union Station/Willis Tower. Taxis run at least every 20 minutes, daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Memorial Day to Labor Day. They also offer commuter service from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Commuter service runs between Union Station/Willis Tower and Michigan Ave, with limited new service to Erie and Larabie.

Fares vary from $3 to $13, depending on which stops riders are traveling between, and children under 12 can ride at a discounted rate. Commuters can buy a discounted ten-ride pass, the price of which comes out to a $1.50 one-way ride.

Tickets are available for purchase at kiosks at the Michigan Avenue, Erie Street and Union Station/Willis Tower station docks.

For more detailed information, go to shorelinewatertaxi.com.

Chicago Water Taxi

Wendella operates Chicago Water Taxi, a service they began under another name in 1962. Since then, Wendella's website says, they have carried an estimated 4 million commuters.

Taxis run 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, with service every 10-30 minutes, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends, with service every half hour. They stop at Michigan Avenue, at the base of the Wrigley Building; at LaSalle and Clark near Fulton's Market; at Madison Street across from the Civic Opera House; and, on weekends, Chinatown, at Ping Tom Memorial Park.

The taxis begin running in May and continue until November or December, depending on weather situations.

A one-way fare not including Chinatown is $2 ($4 with Chinatown), and passengers can also buy one-day passes, ten-ride passes and monthly passes at a discount rate. Single ride tickets can be purchased on the boats and all passes may be purchased at kiosks at the Michigan and Madison stations.

For more detailed information, go to chicagowatertaxi.com.

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