Watertown News reports.
The tahget mahket:
But totally impractical. Not enough capacity (12-15 passengers, max), too expensive, too slow (40 minutes to "Beacon Hill" best case). River freezes for part of the winter. Rowers likely to be in the way for much of the journey.
Seems like it'd be a good boutique sightseeing trip though.
At $25 a passenger (given that rides will be full) it will be tough. On the other hand, what is an Uber from Watertown to Museum of Science? Can't see there being sufficient demand at half the cost.
This is some kind of swamp land in Florida type grift. The speed restriction for motorized traffic on the Charles is 6MPH above the BU bridge, and 10MPH between there and the dam. The schematic in the article shows a route running between Watertown Square and the Hatch Shell, which is 7.5 linear route miles. 5.5 to the BU bridge, at 6MPH = 55 minutes. The remaining 2 miles, at 10MPH = 12 minutes. So that's a 67 minute trip under best circumstances, not even accounting for time required to dock at intermediate stops, then accept and disgorge passengers. Compare that to 15-25 minutes for the 504 express bus. This idea resides in Fantasyland.
Yes to all of the above. It's a 1+ hour ride from Watertown to the BU Bridge. The 57 bus does this in half that time at rush hour (and they're actually planning to improve that), and it actually goes to Kenmore Square. Not close to a mile's walk away at a dock on the river. And that's assuming no intermediate stops, start adding those in and the trip gets longer. And in Boston and Cambridge, the docks are cut off from any real destinations by the river roads (and on the Cambridge side, a big stone wall).
Speaking of docks: run a service like this and it has to be ADA compliant. Sure, you can probably build a boat which is ADA complaint. But docks? Good luck. The docks and the path of travel to the docks has to be ADA complaint. Good luck putting all of that together. And you can't start up and then solve this issue later, that is, unless you want someone to file a lawsuit.
And then, what's the demand? This is basically going to be a riverboat cruise. The Charles already has that for $25 an hour. It's based in Cambridge, has its own dock, and does an out-and-back. It also has a bar on board, which seems like a good reason to take it. So sure, maybe there's a market to park in Watertown at 5:30, get on a boat and have a couple of drinks going to the Red Sox game, and come home, but that's one round trip maybe 50 nights a year. Are commuters going to spend $25 for an hour on a boat when they could take an express bus in 20 minutes for $5 or ride a bike in 35 minutes for free? Some might, and might buy a drink or two (a bar probably helps the business model).
Finally, Drew Rollert is noted to have started a bunch of projects and not finished them. He tried to start a precursor to SpotHero in the mid-2000s and it wasn't a bad idea, although he was probably ahead of his time (pre-mobile Internet). He got a ton of press. The problem is that he never had the funding or engineering for it, and the project fizzled out after he stopped paying his staff. (Ask me how I know!) A bit of a pattern!
Anyway, this won't go anywhere, just like TransitX, which Scott Kirsner also wrote about in the Globe. Although to be fair, Rollert is not as skeezy as the TransitX guy. (Eight year olds, dude.)
I could easily see this being a tourist thing.
But way more people stay in Cambridge than Watertown.
There are four hotels in all of Watertown, plus the Tara over the Pike in Newton Corner.
Meanwhile there are two hotels overlooking the Charles River Cruise dock, half a dozen more within a 10 minute walk, and plenty more just across the river.
Sounds like a job for CODZILLA
I’ll take a ferry anytime over traffic on land.
twenty five dallahs, no frigging way.
I hope he can find a way to get the price of a ticket down a little.
I believe there is already a similar service provided for commuting across the Public Garden.
looking for losses.
"Rollert’s does not have experience running boat service, but he has started other businesses as a software entrepreneur."
What could go wrong? :-)
Many many people have started software-related businesses. Many many startups have failed.
We hear about the relatively rare big successes, and you might hear about one of the smaller successes if you know the people involved. However, that phrasing and the lack of specifics makes me suspect that "starting" is all he did.
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