Potential deal in water taxi fight

by: Samuel King Updated:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The City of Jacksonville is close to a deal in principle that would allow it to get the money back  for the two water taxis it purchased.

Harry Frisch, Chair of Beaver Street Fisheries, has agreed to purchase the boats from Trident Pontoons, according to Chief Administrative Officer Karen Bowling.

Trident Pontoons would then give the money to the city.

A separate deal is being worked out with a company to operate the boats in the short-term and perhaps restore service as soon as next week.

This city has also laid out the requirements they want a new water taxi operator tow meet. Officials want a five-year deal with a three-year renewal option and increased capacity and service during big events like football games and festivals, anywhere from three to six boats.

"When I come down here, I see a lot of people doing special events on it. So somebody's using it,  so somebody's saying we need it," said taxpayer Alphonso Smoak.

The operator would be responsible for providing the extra boats, must have them inspected and have a minimum capacity for 30 passengers. The boats must also operate from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The five-year deal would have a three-year renewal option, and the bidding on the deal will open next month.