Chicago's Water Taxis

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What haven't *you done this summer you'd still like to do? How about a two dollar staycation on the Chicago river?

"I'm Mike Borgstrom. I'm President of Wendella Boats and Chicago Water Taxi here on Michigan Avenue enjoying a beautiful day. I'm a third generation of the family business, started in 1935 by my grandfather. Chicago Water Taxi was a commuter only service from 1962 to 1999. 1999 we began operating as the Wendella River bus. The name was changed to Chicago Water Taxi a few years ago when we decided to paint them yellow and make them look like taxis."

"I am Craig Wenokur, Director of Operations of Wendella Boats. We work with the Department of Tourism here in Chicago to make sure every day is at least 80 degrees and sunny."

Captain Tom Cooper: "Most days are just like this, nice beautiful, just a joy to be here."

Lynn Cooper/Chicago water taxi passenger: "I'm on the water taxi for the first time. It's nice, beautiful day. I'm surprised it's not more crowded... (INTERRUPTED BY BRIDGE TRAFFIC NOISE)... little loud." (she laughs)

Raj Babu/Chicago water taxi passenger: "It's a tough commute taking buses and trains and everything else to get down from Michigan Avenue to the train station, so my fiance told me about this and so far I've liked it."

Mike Borgstrom: "Our route runs from Rush street West of Michigan Avenue all the way ending up eventually in Chinatown on the weekends and terminating at Madison street during the week."

(Passenger talking to the ticket taker)"We're going to the Sears Tower. That's Madison Street."

Mike Borgstrom: "People can get on and off the boat anytime they wish... You can purchase tickets on board."

"That's $2.00."

Craig Wenokur: "All our boats have covered sections, and you can still see the beautiful skyline even when it rains."

Mike Borgstrom: "The people that ride water taxis are varied. Generally during the week it's mostly the commuters during rush hours, but in the summertime we get quite a few families coming in from the suburbs."

Kids from Evanston: "Outside you can get more air.""I get sick on cars too. I don't get sick on boats.

Zoby Soto/Chicago: "I introduce my friends all the time when they come down here I say take the water taxi, it's convenient, it's inexpensive."

Craig Wenokur: "You can use it to work, you can use it to play. We even get people who come on their lunch hour with a sandwich and just sit her for 40 minutes."

Taxi employee: "Thanks for riding with us today, watch your step."

Mike Borgstrom: "We've had a lot of quirky stories over the years. We had a young deck hand, young girl, couldn't have been more than 90 pounds and in one day she rescued 3 people from the Chicago river. Because we go up and down the river so much we're typically in the right place at the right time.

Craig Wenokur: "I just got off a one hour train ride and now I'm gonna take a boat ride before I go to work. What's better than that?"

Capt. Cooper: "I tell my kids, if it's a job you love to go to, you'll never have to work a day in your life."

Mike Borgstrom: "Water transportation in general will be growing around the country. It's an efficient way of moving people. The Bravo here carries 107 passengers which is more than two bus loads. So, it's also a green initiative cause it's half the emissions that a bus would be carrying a full load. What's not to like? It's a great way to see Chicago. It's a mini vacation."

Chicago water taxi is the oldest taxi service in town, but not the only one. If you'd like the video link for this story... text the word "Cover" for cover story to 97999. And for more information, please click these links.

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