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EXCLUSIVE: City Water Taxi Service In 8 Months

June 2013 for commuter and tourist services from city centre to MediaCityUK

Published on November 4th 2012.


EXCLUSIVE: City Water Taxi Service In 8 Months

EXCELLENT NEWS for Salford, Manchester and Trafford.

Confidential understands we will have an operating water taxi service between the city centre and MediaCityUK by June 2013.

This adds an extra dimension to making a tourist experience in Manchester easier, it slings a lasso around Manchester United, the IWMN and The Lowry and pulls them closer to the city centre.

Salford City Council and MediaCityUK are looking for an operator for the service on the Manchester Ship Canal and River Irwell between MediaCityUK and Chapel Wharf. 

The QuaysThe Quays

£500k funding has been secured from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. This is part of the Irwell River Park programme. There will be five landing points - pontoons - installed by May 2013. The infrastructure required to reach these will be completed by the same date.

The result is that a new water taxi service should be operational from June 2013. Journey time from Chapel Wharf to MediaCityUK would be under twenty minutes.

The landing pontoons will be built at Chapel Wharf (in front of the Lowry Hotel) and then Ordsall, Clippers Quay, the Imperial War Museum North and MediaCityUK. 

Chapel Wharf - terminus for the water taxisChapel Wharf - terminus for the water taxis

Confidential Comment

This is good news for the city region and plugs an obvious gap in transport infrastructure. It plugs this without the vast expense usually associated with, for instance, rail transport. 

The Local Sustainable Transport Fund money delivers a win-win service down the river, one that ticks all sorts of sustainability, tourism and employment boxes.

Commuters waiting for a taxiCommuters waiting for a taxiFares on the new water taxis must be reasonable. Perhaps they should be matched to that of the city centre link delivered by Metrolink. The water taxis have to be given a chance to prove themselves as a viable, regular, service - a desire for a quick cash return might harm this. 

The commitment from Salford City Council is particularly welcome, as is that of Peel Group.

In terms of local authorities this is Salford's scheme and continues their excellent work in the city centre. The city was clearly inspired by these ideas from our previous exclusive on this back in June 2009 - click here. But it still took political will to fight for the funding and then undertake to deliver the project in such a short time frame.

Peel Group is the child of Manchester Ship Canal and this clearly makes commercial sense for them and adds value to their estate.

Pomona is on the right bankPomona is on the right bankThe news of the water taxi service opens up all sorts of investment opportunities down the river particularly in the cleared 'island' between the Ship Canal and the Bridgewater Canal at Pomona.

Not so long ago there was an idea for a theme park sited here. Time to revitalise those ideas perhaps. The city region could easily support many more popular culture attractions - people want them, as the success of the National Football Museum proves, click here.

Finally, as a tour guide, I'm frequently asked about river services to IWMN, the Lowry and MediaCityUK.

The present boats operating on the route are for private hire, they are not scheduled services. Scheduled services, if marketed correctly and announced properly to locals and tourists, will completely change this situation, making the use of the river an attractive option for travellers. Meanwhile the idea of normalising a river commute in Manchester is enticing.

IWMN from the waterIWMN from the waterThe water taxis effectively sling a lasso around Manchester United, the IWMN and The Lowry and pulls them closer to the city centre.

They also deliver back to waters of the River Irwell and the Manchester Ship Canal an essential role in city life.

The once-upon-a-time 'hardest worked river in the world' is rolling up its sleeves again.

Jonathan Schofield: @JonathSchofield

Boats on the river in 1750Boats on the river in 1750

The quiet waters byThe quiet waters by

The LowryThe Lowry

Crusing down the Ship CanalCrusing down the Ship Canal

City centre River IrwellCity centre River Irwell

Victoria and Albert Hotel on the banks of the riverVictoria and Albert Hotel on the banks of the river

MediaCityUK from the waterMediaCityUK from the water

IrwellIrwell

Manchester United from the Ship CanalManchester United from the Ship Canal

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75 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

the Whalley RangerNovember 4th 2012.

This is seriously cool stuff. Hopefully we can get it to work - the expansion in Salford Quays suggests it could, should it be proven that city centre and Quays business and recreational links exist.

Duke FameNovember 4th 2012.

Not being funny but does Manchester really get any tourists apart from when ManU are playing

9 Responses: Reply To This...
Alison StaplesNovember 5th 2012.

I host lots of tourists from all kinds of countries, here for all kinds of reasons. The consensus is really positive and that 'Manchester was much better than we were expecting - we wish we had more time!' I think a water taxi will be a brilliant addition - both for tourists and for us locals!

G BergNovember 5th 2012.

I agree with Alison, Manchester is a fantastic city compared to most of the others in the UK.

G BergNovember 5th 2012.

Duke..honestly? Concerts, Parades Markets (Christmas 17th November) the Olympics, Armed forces Day The Vodaphone Weekend...need I go on?

Hero
James CunninghamNovember 6th 2012.

As a city centre hotelier I can assure you we get lots of tourists here for more than Utd! Add to this the huge amount of foreign visitors here on business who may well want to travel to the businesses in the Quays on the water rather than a packed tram and this service becomes even more exciting! I for one will recommend it to my guests!!

AnonymousNovember 7th 2012.

James the trams are not packed except in the rush hours and its quicker by bus on the x50

Ghostly TomNovember 8th 2012.

900,000 annually and rising I heard. 3rd most visited city in the UK apparently. Lets not knock our tourist potential. People do want to visit us.

rinkydinkNovember 23rd 2012.

Manchester is the second most visited city in England - google it. This cannot be for football alone

PaulJanuary 10th 2013.

Well if we are to get more tourists then we will have start dealing with the litter problem in Manchester fast. Parts of the city centre are a real disgrace.

PaulJanuary 10th 2013.

My goodness, they can't even clear up the muck that collects around the edge of the water in Salford Quays, do they really want tourists to see that? Second thought, why do they need a stop for IWMN and one for Media City. They are right opposite each toher

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 5th 2012.

Duke, yep, hundreds of thousands. Don't be one of those suffering from those peculiarly homegrown syndromes called miserableness and an inability to see the value, beauty and significance around you.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Mark TraffordNovember 5th 2012.

Good positive post that Jonathan and this is where we need to be to keep moving forward. Wherever there is water, homes, businesses, leisure facilities etc. should be built. I work in the wedding industry and I'd love to have the money to own a boat/barge on one of our waterways that could hold weddings/functions. Maybe one day I will but anything to do with rivers, canals, the sea is so aesthetic and everyone likes it. Onwards and upwards mate.

Mark TraffordNovember 5th 2012.

It would be good if these river taxis also had facilities on them where you could buy sandwiches and drinks etc.

SmittyNovember 5th 2012.

hear, hear Jonathan. I love Manchester, have lived here for years and it's my home. But one thing that never ceases to amaze me and I just can't understand is the way in which people never seem to tire of bitching about it. Why?

Daniel HarrisonNovember 5th 2012.

Please can we have some oversized bathtubs, like in Vancouver?

Annette RimmerNovember 5th 2012.

it'll be like Dubai Creek! great. Lets hope some lovely non-chain cafes will be able to afford to open up by the river + lets hope there's some genuine competition to keep fare prices down - that's my dream and I'm stickin2it1

BLR_3November 5th 2012.

like this a lot. hope it's successful.

November 5th 2012.

Great idea. Again hope they make the fares reasonable, unlike the metrolink!

AnonymousNovember 5th 2012.

Fantastic idea, another reason why people should visit our great city!

Mark TraffordNovember 5th 2012.

Fantastic idea. I hope one day they bring in hovercrafts for a speedier service.

David BishopNovember 5th 2012.

Yes good news, love cruising down the Thames when I stay in Canary Wharf in London. Hope they also serve beer on the boats like they do there. A more civilised way to travel!

JimtoNovember 5th 2012.

Great stuff!

I cycled down to MCUK for 4 months for work and it's a great route in to the quays. The boat would be a great alternative to hanging around for the trams.

And best of all, rivers dont need resurfacing, nor do they suffer from leaves on the water.

I guess they'll have to do some sort of clear up of the canal along the way. Currently looks like the garbage compactor on the death star.

Calum McGNovember 5th 2012.

This is a fab piece of news!

AnonymousNovember 5th 2012.

I ve got a boat I could mount a bid to operate this , there's so much to see and do in Manchester. I'm from Henley on Thames and were all so in awe of Manchester, somedays when I'm cruising up the Thames I often think oh I wish I was in Manchester ,I love the grubby NorthernQuartere in. and the up and at them attitude of the locals. Moston ,Blackley and Harpurhey always high on my list of must see places. Then there's Manchester fabulous shopping centres,The Fort,the Arndale and the Trafford Centre all of them full f exciting possibilities Superdrug, Argos Thorntons ad to eat out at Nandos KFC McDonald's .you Lucky Lucky People get on the train or drive down, it's like a Different world than the sh-t we all live in , then some clown wants to start running a boat!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 5th 2012.

Yes, amazing what having billions of pounds of public money chucked at one city to the detriment of all else can do isn't it. Classy place though London, all riding around on crappy blue bikes proudly displaying the name of a bank involved in money laundering and market rigging, makes you proud to be British. Oh yes, and that recently installed epitome of taste, a f*cking cable car. Jesus. Did Alton Towers not build one of those in the 1970’s, oh and of course proudly sponsored by an overseas company.

AnonymousNovember 5th 2012.

Why are you reading Manchester Confidential?

I don't read about London because I have no interest in the place, so why are you reading this?

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 6th 2012.

People, people, don't fall for baiting like this. It makes us look as though we have chips on our shoulders. Criticism is fine and it was quite a funny rant.

DottyNovember 5th 2012.

Absolute no brainer, should of been done a long time ago when media city was in its first stages of construction.
Just need to look how the Thames do it so well, so we get it right from the start. way to go!

Weby72November 5th 2012.

This is only how many years since the idea first surfaced? I remember commenting at the time that in summer dry spells, the Irwell gets rather whiffy in the stretch between Victoria & New Quay St. That's how long ago it was - back when we had dry spells in summer.

Tim HaighNovember 5th 2012.

I think it is a brilliant idea, I would love to run this service for the city-I am a yachtmaster and could purchase a COP registered craft to do the job but I do not think it would be commercially viable even as a one man operator as the fares would not pay for the investment needed let alone provide a wage for further staff! a suitable modern 30/40 seat craft would cost in the region of £120K so it would take a lot of £2's to pay.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 5th 2012.

I can't imagine that all of the money will come in the form of tickets.

It'll be good advertising space, you'll be able to get sponsorship as well. On matchdays it'll be run at capacity for hours, there and back.

It is extremely viable, it just needs the right people to do it, as oppose to our lovely metrolink and it's much revered middle management.

alexNovember 5th 2012.

I agree with Tim. Making it viable will be the key. A great concept though. Seamlessly connects Chethams/ medieval quarter / football museum/ pumphouse/ MOSI/ Odsall Hall/ Lowry/ IWMN / Mediacity.

Steve5839November 5th 2012.

There is already a service on match days from Dukes to OT and it is great, not cheap, but a great service with a bar too.

TopchefNovember 5th 2012.

A great idea, Manchester on the water, I can see it now!

Helen Ramsbottom shared this on Facebook on November 5th 2012.
Robert JohnsonNovember 5th 2012.

No wonder the fares on the Metrolink are high when most do not pay.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Calum McGNovember 6th 2012.

What % of users don't pay?

AnonymousNovember 5th 2012.

I read Mancon cos I live in Manchester I said I was from Henley, incidentally it's about 35 miles from London so we don't get a lot of blue bikes there. The cable car hasn't quite reached us either. Perhaps we could get a cable car across the Irwell we could use it to spot the used condoms and beer cans floating in the river below.

Mike GradwellNovember 6th 2012.

This would have been a really good thing to have happened to Pomona Docks...

www.cnplus.co.uk/…/1083610.article…

1 Response: Reply To This...
Manchester_Water_TaxisNovember 9th 2012.

Surely a Dan Dare theme park should be in Southport? As for the viability of a water taxi service on the Irwell I'm more than happy to speak to anyone who would like to see how everything stacks up. This project has taken four years to get to this point but there will be water taxis in operation next summer which can only be a positive for our great city

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 6th 2012.

Mike was that the Dan Dare theme park? I loved that idea.

johnNovember 6th 2012.

I've always thought some of Ancoats should be redeveloped as a historical attraction - a bit like Beamish in the North East but with more rollercoasters (including a loop-the-loop one called 'The Industrial Revolution')

Chivvy OnNovember 6th 2012.

I like that idea and other rides too could be The Spinning Jenny, The Flying Shuttle and The Mule. Maybe even the Waterframe rather then the Waterflume.

Poster BoyNovember 6th 2012.

Haven't we been here before? It's a nice idea, but the (icy) cold commercial reality will be very different. In the bid they are suggesting 65,000 annual trips (year not specified?) and that Salford City Council might underwrite the funding. There are simply not enough numbers, every day, all year round. It's a leisure cruise, not a fast alternative means of public transport.

JS; You should try and obtain the business case doc, the water taxi is, but miniscule, sugar coating around the larger bid, and a proposal seeking further discussion as to viability.

AnonymousNovember 6th 2012.

65000 trips doesn't seem unreasonable at all. 250 'trips' per day Monday - Friday covers that, let alone weekend and tourist traffic. Make it a sensible price (unlike the Metrolink) and I reckon someone will be sat on a goldmine.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
Penny CloustonNovember 6th 2012.

That would be more frequent than the Eccles line trams!

moragNovember 6th 2012.

This is really exciting and I hope it does happen.

also: if that article is about the dan dare theme park please can someone who subscribes send me the text of the full article? (savelibrarywalk@gmail.com) I've been doing some research on it for a while and info is a bit scant. would be much appreciated x

JoanNovember 6th 2012.

Surely much will depend on the journey time if it is to be successful as a commuter route. I have't yet seen any estimation of this. Does anyone know? Joan

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldNovember 7th 2012.

Joan, the journey time would be twenty minutes from the city centre.

AnonymousNovember 6th 2012.

If it was 65000 trips a year and allowing for 10 weeks when it's either too windy, cold or out of service. So that's 65000 divided by 42 it equalsb221 trips a day (seen day week)if it ran 10 hours a day its22 trips an hour. In each direction! To break even you would need 20 passengers per trip or 185000 per year. Jonathan,Mancon, stop writing about daft no brain schemes and stick to reviewing burger bars

1 Response: Reply To This...
dalai guevaraNovember 6th 2012.

To quote a now largely obsolete local brewer: if Venice can do it, why not also the Venice of England?

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 6th 2012.

Bless you Anon. That's the spirit that built the Ship Canal: miserable grumpiness. This could easily work and has been costed out by at least one potential operator. Here's the deal: if in a year's time I can take people to MediaCity by water taxi then I expect you to come on here and be generous enough to apologise, maybe under your own name rather under Anonymous. Will you do that?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoyNovember 7th 2012.

Your allegory of the Ship Canal may be more prescient than you intend...

Hero
Penny CloustonNovember 6th 2012.

A friend who lives in the country came to visit with her young children and the highlight of their day was travelling on as many different types of transport as possible so we managed the bus, tram and train (a shout out needs to go to the tram driver for being so helpful). But just imagine if we could have got the tram out to Media City, done something CBBC/Cbeebies related and then got the boat back into town.

A boat would be a much more preferable form of transport to return to Manchester from Salford Quays than bus say should a tram break down (which never happens) and maybe Pomona will no longer be that ghost tram station anymore.

I'd certainly take friends on it to view the diverse architecture along the river banks if the timetable was suitably regular and reliable.

Marcus EadyNovember 6th 2012.

Anonymous - you're so brave being 'anonymous' you know! Henley is of course so much better than Manchester, a sleepy backwater close to nowhere and wanting to be something just because you have rowing boats .... ooh big wow!

Northern and proud.November 6th 2012.

Go for it Manchester.
This is a brilliant idea. Waterways and water power drove the industry of the great industrial north west not least the Manchester Ship Canal to which Manchester owed its prosperity, growth and wealth, making a vast contribution to the WHOLE of the country's economy at the time.
It will be a valuable tourist attraction, (tourists spend money), offer employment, leisure attractions, communication alternatives. This could even develop into greater use on the Manchester Ship Canal linking transport to Liverpool - again!!!
The use of the dock area and waterways are well under used in this country as they have been left to rot but the Victorians were prolific and robust builders as evidenced by so much of their work that is still standing today, namely the docks and canals.
This is not romatic nostalga for an era past but an oportunity looking us in the face to link Northern Heritage with modern day needs.
If nobody likes the Mancheter they see then get out there and clean it up instead of moaning. (or "ship out" back to Henley).

At least there is a body of people willing to try and improve it. I for one hope we get it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Paul KnowlesDecember 5th 2012.

Nail on the head! (if it helps -sheep!...loads of bleats. no balls!

AnonymousNovember 6th 2012.

Its hardly venice !

AnonymousNovember 7th 2012.

Jonathan, it would have HADto have been costed out by at least one potential operator, what you fail to understand or report is that the potential operator sees this as the carrot ,but what else have they been offered? I love all the misguided loons on here who think it would be wonderful,I love your eternal optimism that it would be great for tourism and transport links. It wouldn't it will be a hugeF*ck up like the trams, overpriced ,going nowhere with no links. Try to get from Bury to Oldham you have to go into Manchester ! Similarly who really wants to go on a boat trip from Nowhere to Salford, where are the Carparks going to be in this wonderful new world of Schofield ? will we all ride in Taxis like Councillor Duxbury in Billy Liar? Who's going to pay for all the building required because Manchester Council is skint and looking to save money,with further cutbacks promised. Like I said yesterday stick to The nq and your much loved Burger Bars. Typical Journalistic Nonsense and Bravado ,I'm sure in a years time despite my misgivings you'll be able to take tours down the river, will it make money ? No!

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 7th 2012.

Anon, and still anonymous - my fine eternally anonymous friend.

You resort to insults when you clearly have no knowledge of tourism in Manchester and its startling growth.

Nor do you have any knowledge about the potential in the city to be better, nor any awareness of Manchester's significance.

Please have a look at the Best of Manchester Buildings on the site and maybe the Manchester Achievement article - maybe take an hour or so off today and visit Chetham's Library and John Rylands Library.

(By the way the tram service isn't as good as it could be but it is by no means a fuck up. I use it everyday and 19 times out of 20 it works a treat.)

Here's an invite. I conduct a general tour of Manchester every Saturday at 1pm from the fountain in Albert Square. It lasts 90 minutes and costs £5. Come along and see if I can't change your opinion, I promise not to mention burgers.

One last piece of advice. In your rage you're messing up your grammar on these rants and inserting lots of weird capitalisations. Calm down.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 7th 2012.

I have lived in Manchester now for nearly forty years, twelve of those in the City Centre in a building built in 1880. 'surrounded' by failed development sites with the University about to supply another one in the shape of the UMIST building. From time to time I meet
wandering tourists and show them the
best place to take pictures of the buildings and i don't charge £5.

But I am fed up with the announcement of even more grandiose schemes which result in nothing. Most recently the Co-op Quarter was featured. The Office is there and there are good intentions about what will happen to the sites vacated but be skeptical about its future. There are lots failures more around.

But Manchester has always been like this. Like the ballad 1849 . 'Manchester is Improving Daily' (...NOT)

Manchester is famous for its industry, science, and radical politics and more latterly its sport. Of these probably only its science seems to have a future.

Boat trips on the Irwell may be an amusing distraction for a season but lets get on with life rather than dreams.

AnonymousNovember 7th 2012.

that anon is bringing a bad rep for all us other anons!

AnonymousNovember 7th 2012.

Jonathan, anon here sorry I've not replied sooner I've had a really busy day, I've been up and down that river in my little motorboat looking at all the wonderous sights! Got in a bit of trouble near the weir but it turned out ok I've been looking for buildings with lions on or is it bees? Also been scouting locations for drive in boat friendly sites for my new venture called Also Famous soggy burgers.I trust my English verb and tense use is up to your exacting standards. You want to take a good look at yourself you are hardly breaking new ground in journalism writing hits of reviews for Mancon! Oh and walkinground Manchester with a small bunch of anoraks . I left school at 15 formed a business built it up and sold it at 39 for £18,000,000 but hey ho we've all got to muddle on .
Ps don't hold your breath if I don't make it on one of your tours only Saturday mornings a bad time for me.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Northern and proud.November 7th 2012.

I agree its not Venice but we are not comparing Manchester with Venice. No one suggested Gondolas anyway.
Do you view Media City as another " failed carbuncle" not worth further investment. The whole country is full of failed attempts at generation not just Machester. Money to finance many ideas seem to be found for developments in the south though.

Are you upset and angry because you did not have the idea first?

From your earlier post I thought you may be an accountant, well we don't know what your business was but despite your success all that money has made you a right angry, disrespectful and miserable B......

Suggest you take a long holiday out of Manchester with a one way ticket, perhaps to Venice!

Jonathan SchofieldDecember 5th 2012.

Dear me David Anonymous you do make me laugh. I wish you would laugh at yourself a bit more.

shabob1November 7th 2012.

Just wondered why when you buy a years travel ticket to go on buses and trains and trams you still have to pay to go on a tram from mediacity to manchester - Its absolute daylight robbery and there is no alternative.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 8th 2012.

You could take the Number 33 bus from Piccadilly Gardens which is the back up for when the trams die on the Eccles Line. Alternatively there's the Number 50 which goes from Didsbury to Salford train stations and onto Media City.
I enquired about combined train and tram tickets at TfGM / GMPTE a year ago when my office moved but they didn't know of anything of the sort yet Northern Rail sell combined tickets. Is it a System 1 ticket you've got?

AnonymousNovember 7th 2012.

Northern and proud , I had a manufacturing company, we made things, we employed people we were successful and local . I sold out due to ongoing health problems 10 years later it went bankrupt. Any more info required?

James AithieNovember 7th 2012.

@ManchesterWAXIS on Twitter

AnonymousNovember 12th 2012.

Is this one a different company or much more of the same thing? http://www.manchestercruises.com/

Paul KnowlesDecember 5th 2012.

London Has a river 'and "still" makes the most of it! I have read the spoilt chants of Mr Henley-on-Thames ( I believe they still have job vacancies for chimney sweeps aged under 14Yrs! I suffer the misfortune of arriving Late in London every week and walk (yes walk!) to my POSH? hotel in Belgravia ...I can shower my feet whilst in bed....Posh?. £200 per night!!!...I would like to add that the restraunts I walk past are 'FULL!' in mid-week?.@ 50/60 quid for a lettuce leaf & a piece of dead cow!..If you believe the crass,trite remarks 'issued' by central government', you need to take time to see our nations history.If you live in Borris's London (now in the pocket of OUR government?....) you are a either very wealthy or a spectator spending your hard earnt £...your choice?.....Manchester Has/does offered its People (from ALL walks of life!-not just the privaliged!!) a chance share of its rich of wealth,history,fairness for all...."other citys could learn a lesson!.."GROW-UP!"....this is a chance for our city to become the first city!...since ALL economic growth/input is now achived outside london....not the gout ridden,lazy rodents that reside in the capital?...of this new changing nation.If you don't like my post :- retire to your bed. Put your tin hat on and clutch your powdered egg!..

Paul KnowlesDecember 10th 2012.

1 hour 30 minuites drive:- MIA to Portland street via the Parkway! "kind of puts travel time into perspective!" If/when this venture happens I trust the operators have a long term view of investment and returns I.E. Channel tunnel & M6 toll road and not 'held to ransom by a Highwayman holding-up stagecoaches? ( I would suggest 'turn style' entry as this reduces manning (£ costs!) and reduces fair avoidance!!!....(see Metro Wink...'sorry' link!)....does anyone have an opinion out there?

Don AllwrightApril 16th 2013.

Anonymous, you don't live anywhere, you're 'Anonymous'.
A water taxi is a fabulous idea!
If it doesn't work it will stop. Be positive, it's what made Manchester great!

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