An overwhelming majority of readers participating in the RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll support efforts to restore ferry service between Rochester and Toronto. But only 32 percent say they back use of any local taxpayer-funded incentives to encourage a privately run ferry service. That percentage is slightly higher than the 30 percent recorded a year ago, when the same question was asked in a Snap Poll. At that time, 65 percent of poll respondents thought the city should make a strong effort to attract a company to launch a smaller, privately run ferry between Rochester and Toronto.
The city of Rochester and the Toronto Port Authority recently said they had begun an effort to see if any private companies are interested in restoring ferry service between the two cities across Lake Ontario. Rochester and the port authority jointly are issuing a request for qualifications, aimed at a privately funded and operated service only. Potential operators are being asked to submit proposals by March 31.
The effort by officials in both cities aims to make use of the port facilities they developed for the fast-ferry operation that shut down in 2005. Rochester is paying a $250,000-a-year lease to the port authority for the Toronto terminal.
Roughly 1,090 readers took part in the poll, conducted March 10 and 11.
Do you support efforts by the city of Rochester and the Toronto Port Authority to solicit interest from private companies in restoring ferry service?
Would you support the use of any local taxpayer-funded incentives to encourage a privately run ferry service?
As long as the service is 100 percent user-supported and privately owned, with absolutely no public taxpayer funding used, I think it is a great idea! Maybe by using a smaller, more economical vessel, the ticket costs could be the same or lower than the first ferry.
-Jim Wright, Henrietta
There are a lot of Rochester-area schools that can make better use of $250,000 each year than the Toronto seaport.
-Paul Conaway, Lockheed Martin
You did not ask if we would support a public/government-run ferry service. I believe there is a role for government in public transportation. Private interests have proven themselves to be deceitful, corrupt and unworthy of public trust.
-Timothy Wells, professor, Rochester Institute of Technology
What makes anyone think it would work any better this time? It had only a little to do with the management of the service before-there simply isn’t a market demand for this.
With the proper business model and people who could execute the plan it just might be a success. The good news is, we already have the infrastructure in place.
-Bill Lyons, Lyons Commercial/Industrial
It was a nice idea, but it didn’t generate traffic! We have bigger issues in this city. Forget the ferry!
-Ann Tracy, Pittsford
An active port is a vital link for Rochester to expand its links with other markets; it will increase commerce and tourism as well as encourage lakeside property development.
-Paul Dudley, id Signsystems Inc.
03/21/08 (C) Rochester Business Journal