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Ferry between Rochester and Toronto to resume

 
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GregW
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:47 pm    Post subject: Ferry between Rochester and Toronto to resume Reply with quote

Rochester ferry auction a breeze

FROM CANADIAN PRESS

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Ferry service between Toronto and Rochester, N.Y., is expected to resume by May after the upstate New York city bought the ferry for $32 million (U.S.).
The city of Rochester purchased the Spirit of Ontario — also known as the Breeze — at an auction today. The ferry ran across Lake Ontario last summer, but the service only lasted for about 80 days amid crippling debt.

Lisa Raitt, president of the Toronto Port Authority, said May would be an ideal time to resume the ferry crossings.

She said there’s the potential for high traffic because both Canada and the United States have long, holiday weekends in that month.

Raitt also insists Toronto will be ready to receive ferry passengers by then.

“The building is complete,” she said in a phone interview from Rochester. “It’s a matter of finishing up the interior in accordance with (Canada) Customs specifications.”

The final interior finishing phase of the Toronto terminal is scheduled to take 75 days.

Each ferry trip can carry 774 passengers and 220 cars.
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Diablerie
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2005 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose they have done the demographic studies that tell them this is a viable business but having grown up in Toronto I can't for the life of me think of why very many people would want to take this ferry.

Also, having sailed on Lake Ontario, two thoughts come to mind. One it has to be faster to drive around the lake even taking the border crossing time into account and perhaps more importantly, the lake can get very rough at times which will affect any ferry.

Any idea what the thinking is behind this?
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GregW
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the City of Rochester business plan:

The demand for fast ferry service between Rochester and Toronto has been well documented in previous market studies. Some studies have estimated the annual demand as high as 1.7 million passengers and nearly 1 million cars. Another study, more directly related to the service initiated by CATS, anticipated annual traffic at 870,000 passengers and 250,000 cards.

The ferry takes just over 2 hours to cross. Driving from Toronto to Rochester is three hours, excluding border delays, which can get pretty bad at times.
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mikeman
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The ferry takes just over 2 hours to cross.


I really find it hard to believe that there is much of a market for a ferry from Toronto to Rochester. Market studies showing a million car demand may be helpful for raising investment capital, but predicting radical changes in consumer behaviour is a tricky science. Particularly when it comes to their cars.

I can't recall that I ever wanted a ferry across the lake. I don't recall any friends ever mentioning a need for such a link.

I also doubt the ferry will be any faster than driving. Ferry users know the routine...even on a good day there is:
Getting to the ferry line up in advance of sailing, lining up to load, loading, 2 hour sail, waiting for vehicles to roll off the ferry, driving from Rochester to where you actually wanted to go....

And that's a good day. Lake Ontario can get a bit rough. Care to gamble on how long the delays might be for the second sailing on a bad day?

Seems like a crazy idea to me.
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GregW
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I just report the news - I don't necessarily believe it!

I think a lot of the ferry business is hoped to be Rochesterites heading North to the "big city" of Toronto to see a play or buy cheap Canadian goods.

Here are the numbers of passengers that original operator (CATS) running the ferry in the summer of 2004 saw. During its 12 weeks of operation, CATS actually carried a total 133,344 passengers and 21,239 cars. Annualizing these numbers is problematic. Problems in the early weeks of operations created consumer doubt that translated into a slow start. During the first five weeks of service, occupancy averaged only 33%. However, for the next six weeks, occupancy averaged 71% , and it reached as high a 90% in the last full week of August.

In their business plan, the city of Rochester says that by adjusting CATS’ experience by deleting only the first two weeks, the annualized expressed passenger demand can be stated as 642,200. Using the same method, the annualized expressed demand for auto passage would be 100,800.

Seems fishy to me, of course, because I would expect a drop in demand in the fall and winter months as tourist traffic reduced. However, if Rochester can get the correct clearances to carry commercial traffic, it could be a different story.

All that being said, would I ever take the ferry? Probably not. At $40 a car, even if it is faster (which they claim), it's not $40 worth faster.

Greg
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mikeman
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Hey, I just report the news - I don't necessarily believe it!


Sorry Greg, I hadn't intended for it to sound that way. Embarassed

Here on the Left Coast we seem to get a new ferry plan proposal every few months. Some of them actually get built. Virtually all but the Government Ferry systems end up broke or worse. And then even the Government gets sucked into some doozies too. (BC Fast Ferry - Built for millions, sold off for thousands after the plan failed.)
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Diablerie
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the 2 hour crossing a bit difficult to believe. It must be a very high speed ferry to make that and again it must be on a good day in regards to the lake conditions.

What does impress me is the numbers they say were moved when they tried before.

Anyway, good luck to them. An alternative never hurts and I suppose if you were headed for Boston or New York, it could be an advantage.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

perhaps some can drive from rochester to toronto in 3 hours...but 5 hours is more likely, especially if there is traffic on the QEW (i.e., pretty much always)...the ferry sounds GREAT to me, that drive is nasty
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