Sunday, June 24, 2007

River Taxi

A nice idea that doesn’t seem to pay its way probably needs to be shelved unless public leadership can make a case for continuing to funnel public money to it.

River taxis up the creek
River Otter service is left high and dry as new owners and chamber argue about money.
By Terri Hardy - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, June 24, 2007

The River Otter Water Taxi -- a ubiquitous sight on the Sacramento River for more than a decade -- has disappeared from the waterfront.

The firm's phone has been disconnected, and its ticket booth in Old Sacramento is shuttered.

In November, the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce sold the taxi service to a private partnership, Sacramento Yacht Charters LLC. The new owners paid a 5 percent down payment but failed to come up with the remainder by the mid-February deadline, said Matt Mahood, the chamber's president and CEO.

"This deal has dragged on for a very long time, and we're very frustrated," Mahood said. "Not only are we concerned that we haven't been paid, but we spent more than 10 years developing this business, something that people really enjoy, and suddenly it's not operating."