City Paper is not for tourists
Eco-friendly, family-run American River Taxi revs up its hybrid boats this June, servicing stops between Georgetown, Nationals Park, and the Gangplank Marina in Southwest. The company plans to run two boats, both with a 28-passenger capacity. They’ll run every half-hour.
Sounds amazing, except Opening Day for the Nats drew a sellout crowd of 41,290. If the taxi boats catch on, lines at the Georgetown Waterfront could end up wrapping across the Key Bridge to Rosslyn–melting in the sweltering heat while you wait is all part of the experience.
The hybrids are made from composite material, says Anne Tabligan, vice president of sales and marketing for American River Taxi.
And where there’s a 6-knot speed limit on the Potomac River, the boats will run fully on electric. They’ll also be fully enclosed with air conditioning, she adds. If you want to stay on land, the company has also partnered with a shuttle service, providing runs from Georgetown to and from the Foggy Bottom Metro station.
“The locals are the ones who are really excited, we’ve been waiting for years,” Tabligan says.
The commuter boats are unique in that most river taxis in the U.S. are ferries, able to carry 150 to 200 passengers at a time, Tabligan says.
The plans transpired one night: “We talked about it over dinner,” Tabligan says. “Why can’t we just cross the river, and we’re where we need to be?”
Next year, American River Taxi plans to add stops in Alexandria and National Harbor. Ronald Reagan National Airport could also be a destination.
For now, the river taxis plan to run most of the year—as long as the weather’s kind.
Photo by William Cummings