View Full Version : Riverboats Proposal

04-13-2005, 01:56 PM
River restoration plans revealed

By Bryan Dean
The Oklahoman

The company picked to operate a water taxi service on the Oklahoma River unveiled its design Tuesday for boats that will ferry passengers, beginning next year.
Members of the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority approved the design Tuesday.

Water Taxi of Oklahoma, which also operates the passenger boats on the Bricktown Canal, plans to begin service with four boats next summer.

Chad Huntington, the company's manager, said boats will ferry visitors from the Interstate 40 and Meridian corridor to Stockyards City, Bricktown and other river destinations.

"Because there may be federal transit dollars associated with this, these need to be very much a transit-oriented boat," Huntington said.

The design is for a 50-passenger catamaran with climate-controlled enclosed seating and outdoor seating, making them able to run all year long.

River authority members questioned whether the boats could be converted to offer dinner cruises and receptions.

Huntington said the first set of boats probably won't serve that purpose.

Trust members said they would like that service offered on the river. Ward 6 Councilwoman Ann Simank said she would like to see such a boat with a different design more suited for recreation than transit.

Pat Downes, development director for the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority, said dinner cruises aren't popular on the canal water taxis.

"I do think the demand for this dinner service is going to be significantly higher than on the canal," Downes said.

"We'll come up with a way to serve both needs because I think both needs are there."

In other business, the river authority approved renaming the city's skate park after BMX biking legend Mat Hoffman, an Edmond native whose east Oklahoma City company is a leader in the BMX industry.

Hoffman, a 10-time world champion considered an innovator in BMX freestyle, helped popularize the sport in the 1990s.

He helped design Oklahoma City's skate park and is bringing an international biking competition to the park in May.

The park commission will vote April 20 on the request to name the park the Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park of Oklahoma City. Parks Director Wendel Whisenhunt made the request.

If approved by the parks commission, the request will go to the city council.

04-13-2005, 01:58 PM
I wonder if we will get a dock at Dell. Then some of the Dell people could ride the boats to and from work.

04-13-2005, 02:06 PM
I think enough special treatment for a call staton is enough. Don't you?

This proposal has been out in the open, to my knowledge, for awhile.

04-13-2005, 02:14 PM
I think enough special treatment for a call staton is enough. Don't you?

This proposal has been out in the open, to my knowledge, for awhile.

Concur.. it's just a call center. The people at Dell probably can't afford the $5.00 ticket every day just to ride to work. The bus would be cheaper and faster. This would be more of a tourist type business.

04-13-2005, 02:58 PM
It may only be a call center to you, however, a lot of people do not know the salaries paid. Plus, the center is expected to employ up to 5,000 people.

I would say it is far from being "just a call center." Plus, I would venture to guess Dell may give an insentive or the water taxi may. I still think a dock would be good. Plus it could be used by non dell people since the land does not include the walking trail.

04-13-2005, 03:01 PM
What will the average salary be there? I'm guessing the average employee will be hourly, and the salaries will be around $8.00/hr. Is that anywhere close?

What I'd like to see would be for the state to make riverboat casinos legal.

That could be fun :D

The only reason I would want that would be to have a poker tournament and throw the losers overboard.

I'm strange like that.

04-13-2005, 03:06 PM
Salaries are confidential information, and not for public release.

04-13-2005, 03:08 PM
The call center is hardly important enough to deserve the current publicity.

If they employ 5,000 people, I would certainly support a dock just for them. If they start to support the city's revitalization efforts, than I would also support a seperate dock for them in that instance as well.

04-13-2005, 04:34 PM
I agree SoonerRiceGrad and Midtowner, Dell although very important has had enough special treatment. I ought to build my own call center with those types of incentives. If they help out more in supporting riverfront development and urban redevelopment then maybe. I also agree with the overwhelming majority of the employees are on an hourly basis of $7.50-$10.00 + commissions and maybe at tops a few hundred managers on a salary. I've been offered a job at Dell last year and have recently considered taking them up on another offer. I've been told what certain groups make although I'm sure Dell will claim its "unofficial" on the record.

Exactly, these boats will not be "speedy" enough for alternative transportation, I believe the quote from Meridian to downtown was about 45 mins. These will be more pleasure and touristy cruises with dinner/entertainment cruises and hopefully eventually riverboat casinos.

04-13-2005, 04:45 PM
That's a good point about leisure vs. transportation, metro.

Especially since the boats will have to pass through 2-3 locks along the way.

I'm sure it will be much like the Bricktown water taxis, where it's all about the trip and not necessarily the destination.

04-13-2005, 05:04 PM
We could use a faster, more convenient was to travel w/o walking or driving through slum--if the river boat traveled at 20 nauts at least it would be worth our transportation interest.

04-13-2005, 07:04 PM
I agree with the fact we could use it but I wouldnt count on it, especially since its not in the interests of the Riverfront Development Authority at this time. The whole idea of the riverfront is to make it a destination. The lockes as Malibu pointed out will take up time, as well as the stops along the way as well. The boats will look similar only they hold about 50 people instead and have an enclosed section and an outdoor viewing area as well. This way they can be used year round. Maybe in 5-10 years when the river is more developed you may see something used more for transportation. Its not financially an opportunity at this point. Who wants to have a slow riverboat taxi right now that would stop at stockyards city, dell, and meridian while also having to pass through three lockes?? The company wouldnt last nor will within the next 5-8 years.

04-13-2005, 08:38 PM
waste of money if you ask me.

04-13-2005, 08:52 PM
Public transportation is no waste of money.

04-14-2005, 12:21 AM
waste of money if you ask me.

Sounds like the typical attitude most people had that voted down the original MAPS. I have a feelnig these river boats will become quite popular among tourists and even locals wanting an entertainment option. Heck, I'll ride it several times just for the fun!

04-14-2005, 12:36 AM
Originally Posted by thecains
waste of money if you ask me.

Sounds like the typical attitude most people had that voted down the original MAPS. I have a feelnig these river boats will become quite popular among tourists and even locals wanting an entertainment option. Heck, I'll ride it several times just for the fun!

In addition to the first part of this statement, who cares, its private funds anyways, the riverboat company is a privately held company. let them waste their money if you think its a waste. Give it 15 years and I guarantee you will be biting your lip. I bet you will see more than one company running tours too

04-14-2005, 12:38 AM
What's interesting is the city and our citizens had the same thoughts about the Bricktown Water taxi's when the first fact, city leaders predicted losses the first few years, a budgeted money to cover those losses. Well, demand proved them wrong. In 5-6 years of operating, I believe Water Taxi has only lost money 1 year, and they came close to breaking even that year. All other years they've made huge profits which have been split with the city.

04-14-2005, 10:03 AM
The key in the early years before development on the river will be to make it engaging. The water taxi ambassadors have done a terrific job of this on the canal. The vessels need to squeeze as much entertainment dollar as possible out of each voyage. Make it suit different people's interests. Some might just want a relaxing place, others want to have a good time. Have acoustic music. Have newspapers and periodicals. Have a snack bar. Board games.

On the riverfront, while development takes its time, put some visuals on the shores to make it interesting. How about a massive public art project just like the The Gates in Central Park? Okay, maybe not something that abstract. But Rand Elliot's giant neon "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" letters in the lobbies of the Automobile Alley buildings comes to mind.

04-14-2005, 10:14 AM
Are there recent pictures of the river, parks and trails on-line somewhere?

I've seen the MAPS section in the Oklahoman, but all their photos are several years old.

04-14-2005, 01:57 PM
Actually NewsOK's MAPS website has a decent pic on the header. (

Somewhat sad that that is the only one I can think of.

04-14-2005, 03:03 PM
Take the Virtual Water Taxi Tour here: