Water taxis now expected to be ready by first Jaguars preseason game

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The city is now floating the idea of using water taxis for the upcoming Jaguars preseason game Aug. 8.

News4Jax has learned the "on-again, off-again" taxi service is back on, and the taxis could be back in service by game day instead of taking several more weeks.

The taxis have received preliminary approval and permits from the Coast Guard, and now there's just one more inspection. Still, all sides are confident the boats will float next week.

The two water taxis purchased last month by the city have been sitting idle since their arrival. But they've been making lots of waves at City Hall.

The founder of Beaver Street Fisheries took the bait and is buying them from the city, then plans to sell them to a new permanent operator.

The city has finalized its deal with Lakeshore Marine, which will then have the boats inspected by the Coast Guard.

"This time we don't see any barriers that could keep us from having those boats in the water by next Friday," city spokeswoman Karen Bowling said.

That could help with transportation for the Jaguars preseason game, but again it depends on the Coast Guard.

"We should able to conduct an inspection on both vessels as soon as possible, as early as next week," said Marc Montemerlo, of the Coast Guard.

The city had planned to hire a temporary operator to run the service until a permanent one could be found. Bowling said that plan is no longer necessary.

The city said it is looking at other operators with other boats to help fund service during games and special events.

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