A new ferry service from North Station to the Seaport — funded by some of the Seaport’s biggest employers and run by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority — could begin by September, the MCCA said.
“Not only do we want to move people and product effectively and efficiently off of our property but as it moves out of our district to make sure that happens as well,” said Fred Peterson, deputy director of the MCCA. “Moving people and product is incredibly important.”
In a request for proposals released earlier this week, the MCCA said is it looking for at least one ferry operator to shuttle workers, residents and conventiongoers from North Station to the South Boston waterfront. The MCCA will select the winning bidders in July and expects service to start in late August or September.
The ferry is planned to run from Lovejoy Wharf by North Station to the Seaport during the week, with the goal of allowing commuters to bypass city traffic by taking the “blue highway,” Peterson said. The RFP is for a one-year pilot program that can be extended for three more years.
“The travel time for this water transit is going to be substantially better. That is a given,” said Richard Dimino, chief executive of A Better City, a nonprofit focused on improving Boston’s competitiveness and economic health. “Right now, private shuttle operations are picking up over 4,000 people from North Station and bringing them to the South Boston waterfront.”
A number of Seaport companies and landlords already collaborate with the MCCA on a shared shuttle system that drives workers to their various destinations. Dimino said ferry service will reduce the number of passengers on the shuttles, helping to decrease traffic.
“We’re going to take an increment of that population and shift them from private shuttles and shift them to water,” he said. “The notion of improving the mobility in what is the strongest economic center in the state, there’s a very deliberate and focused effort.”
It is unclear what the price tag will be, but local companies and developers, including Vertex, are expected to pay for the service, Peterson said.
“They look at their employers, they look at the tenants in the their buildings, of course they want to fund it,” he said.
A Vertex spokeswoman said the company is involved in the planning process and will help fund the project. She said the company is taking part to help make commuting easier for its employees.
Still, the ferry will be open to the public, Peterson said, with seats set aside. Those passengers will be able to pay for tickets using a mobile app.
By Jordan Graham at bostonherald.com