Island Ferry - an island reality

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 9, No. 44            November 18, 1999

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A new ferry service featuring regularly scheduled departure and arrival times will start as of Monday, November 22nd. The BoatYard's Island Ferry will be servicing business and residential stops from the north to the south of Ambergris Caye for the convenience of both islanders and visitors alike. Their goal is to provide a convenient, reliable, reasonably priced water transportation system for everyone.

    "The first few weeks will be a settling in period," stated Tom Vidrine, project coordinator. "We'll adjust the schedule if necessary to maintain a dependable service and expand the route if timing allows." He appeals to the public for their patience in the beginning while they "work out the kinks".

    Island Ferry service commences its first run from Fido's dock at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 9:10. The next scheduled run begins at 11:00 a.m. and ends at 2:10 p.m. A final trip leaves the BoatYard at 3:00 p.m. and continues the ocean-side loop until midnight for night travelers.     There are three categories of approved stops. Already established are the following regular scheduled "Ferry Stop" or pickup docks: Hustler Dock,  Mata Chica, Fido's, Capricorn and Rendezvous. Other approved docks may only call in for pickups or request drop-offs at this time.

    There are still four regular ferry stops available to the south for anyone interested. Requirements are safe and easy docking access, electricity to provide dock lights for nighttime visits and they must be a reasonable distance from already established stops. Businesses may contact him at 3231 for further details. There are limited fixtures available so a timely response is urged. A red light/green light system can be purchased for signaling after dark. Flags with these colors will be used during the day.

    A radio dispatch system will be used to coordinate the service. A revolving staff will maintain the phones and radio providing full-time dispatch for anyone at other docks calling in for pickups. Additional services will include freight, limousine and independent taxi service. Existing local water taxi personnel have been contacted and offered the opportunity to use the Island Ferry service as a centralized dispatch.

    "The biggest benefit is to the consumer," explained Vidrine. "First class, affordable service will now be available all the time."  For the price of $10, a ticket allows travel within one zone; for example, between the Belize Yacht Club and Journey's End. Tickets may be purchased at all "Ferry Stand" locations or The BoatYard Marina. Tickets purchased on board the Ferry will be at a higher rate due to the inconvenience. Pricing varies depending on destination and plans are for a daily, weekly or monthly ticket purchase. Pricing for staff, residents and frequent travelers is also being considered. Covered boats are available for those days of "liquid sunshine". Mr. Vidrine concluded, "We see this as a boost to the tourism industry on the island. Not only as a much needed convenience, but added business to everyone north and south." For more information call Tom Vidrine at the BoatYard at 3231.
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