Management & Operations

Transit ferry provides alternative to Chicago traffic

Posted on February 1, 2004

Who would have guessed that a boat ride could be much faster than driving? Milwaukee-based Lake Express LLC’s state-of-the-art, 192-foot aluminum catamaran will begin service between Wisconsin’s largest city and Muskegon, Mich., on June 1. Powered by four V-16 Detroit Diesel engines, the jet-propelled vessel is capable of cruising at 40 miles per hour. The yet-to-be-named boat will travel 80 miles across Lake Michigan in two hours and 20 minutes with a full load of 253 passengers and 46 vehicles. That makes sailing an attractive alternative to driving through perpetually clogged Chicago traffic, according to Port of Milwaukee Director Kenneth Szallai. “In all the market research we’ve done, the absolute number one reason people come up with for a passenger ferry is to avoid traffic in Chicago,” he said. “It’s a very direct way to reconnect with Lake Michigan, and it opens up Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin as a tourist destination for people from western Michigan.” Szallai expects the cross-lake route to be a long-term success. “We’re in the process of accepting bids for a new terminal and ramp,” he reported. “We’re getting overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public.” Austal, an Australian firm that has built a number of high-speed ferries, is assembling the $18.9-million ship in Mobile, Ala. Hornblower Marine Service will operate and maintain the boat for Lake Express. Randy Naker of Hornblower described some of the ship’s features. “This vessel is very high tech,” Naker said. “The engines are monitored by computers, so we only need a small crew. You can monitor the fire alarms, panels and passenger comforts by closed-circuit TV. Since it’s being built to U.S. Coast Guard regulations, there will be two licensed personnel — the captain and the mate — on duty.” Because of its speed, all passengers will be required to remain in enclosed areas, but food and beverage service will be offered. Milwaukee native Naker expects the revived ferry service (the last ferry based in that city ended in 1970) to attract local customers. “I’m very familiar with the mess in Chicago,” he remarked. “It might take you six hours to drive from Milwaukee to Michigan through Chicago.” Initial plans call for the 3,300-horsepower vessel to depart three times each day from Milwaukee and Muskegon, Mich. — Al Doyle

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Minn. Metro Transit shutting down part of light rail system for 11 days

Maintenance project includes replacing sections of tracks, upgrading switches, and repairing concrete and overhead wires.

INIT, Sacramento launch region-wide smart card fare collection system

The system incorporates nine transit agencies covering six counties within the Sacramento region serving a population of 2.5 million.

BYD America expands executive leadership

Milo Victoria will serve as GM, while Bobby Hill has been promoted to VP, U.S. sales.

LA Metro to be 'Guest of Honor' at European Mobility Exhibition

The exhibition is designed to encourage the sharing of mobility best practices, develop innovation, and tackle the transition from private vehicles to sustainable mobility, especially in major cities.

Cleveland RTA launches vanpool with Enterprise

The cost-neutral program called VanShare is open to those drivers and riders who are residents of Cuyahoga County, or who have a destination in Cuyahoga County.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close