Council Approves Funding for Water Taxis in City Budget

Council Approves Funding for Water Taxis in City Budget

At a time when Memphis' money problems couldn't seem any worse, the city is investing in more taxis - but not the kind with four wheels; we're talking about water taxis.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - At a time when Memphis' money problems couldn't seem any worse, the city is investing in more taxis - but not the kind with four wheels; we're talking about water taxis.

City council approved money for them Tuesday night at the same meeting when they raised your taxes.

The boats are coming to Beale Street Landing in downtown.

Memphis has to put up $200,000 for the taxis, but the city may not be on the hook for all that money.

"Memphis, even though we're sitting on this great river, we have very little access to the river," said Benny Lendermon with the Riverfront Development Corporation.

The solution to that is water taxis. Memphis used to have the duck boats. Right now if you want to get on the water, your options are limited and pricey.

"Many tourists want to get out on water, see this wonderful river want to get on it; this gives us the opportunity to do that in a very cheap way," said Lendermon.

Tourist Carol Walker likes the idea. "It sounds like a good idea though, doesn't it? Because one of the things we wanted to do was go for a ride on the Mississippi."

Walker and her fellow tourists, visiting from Sweden, would have gone right now if the taxis were here.

"It's quite a long walk. We did walk. In this heat it was a long walk," Walker said.

Kenneth Thomas added, "It would be a cool ride, as far as the weather when it gets real hot."

The taxis would be similar to ones used in Baltimore's harbor. Riders could listen to a history of Memphis, enjoy a different view of the city and be shuttled to attractions off the river.

"From Beale Street Landing to the Mud Island River Park for sure, to Bass Pro Shops sites," suggested Lendermon.

The RDC has an $800,000 grant from the state to pay for the taxis. The City of Memphis has to match that with $200,000.

But, Lendermon, said, "We hope we maybe can reduce that 200,000 commitment from the city with some things the city is already doing with Bass Pro and other projects."

If all goes according to plan, you can take your first boat ride next summer.

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