River Roads

Water Taxis


Pittsburgh waterfronts have been getting attention through out the last few years with various commercial and residential developments.  In 2009, almost $2 million dollars of federal funding was given to Pittsburgh to develop docks and boats designed for commuter use.  The last press about this particular endeavor was in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2011.

PGHretail got a chance to speak to one of our own water vessel companies, Pittsburgh Water Limo, who charters game time shuttles, city sightseeing tours, and wine & microbrew cruises.  They were sited in the article as the operational company to develop the water taxis under this development.

VP of Operations at Pittsburgh Water Limo said they’ve been ready for the last two years.  They’ve been working on designing boats for commuter traffic and have the matching funds to complete the development needed to get this going.

So, what’s holding the water taxis up?


“We’ll be run as a private enterprise, which means, officials don’t know how they’ll make money off the investment,” said the VPO, “that’s just my opinion, but I’ve been doing this a long time. We haven’t been able to have a sit down or call backs from the various offices in charge for months.”

PGHretail left a message for J.D. Fogarty, Development Director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission, for further information and updates on the progress of this federally funded project.  We’re still waiting for a response.

Monthly ridership would be competitive and less than the fee for a monthly parking space in a garage downtown.  Trips from Downtown to the almost complete South Side Works dock near Hofbrauhaus restaurant would take a quick 10 minutes.   Other docks are mentioned in the article to also be ports for the water taxis.

Do you want these water taxis? We need your voices to speak to our city council members, county officials, and the Port of Pittsburgh Commission to make this move!

Fill out a feedback form to your District Council person with this comment:

“I would like an update on your progress with the district’s involvement in the Water Taxi Development from 2011 that is federally funded and said to begin services between South Side Works and Downtown in 2013.  I want to see it expand to our district to benefit my neighborhood. Why has this important service been blocked?”

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Pittsburgh has barges, we have lots, we use most, and some are available for other purposes. Here are some ideas from other cities repurposing barges for public use that can be used for grant funded projects.

The Science Barge is an environmental education center located in Yonkers, NY.  It is the only fully functioning demonstration of renewable energy supporting sustainable food production in New York.  Check out the project here.

Floating Pool Barge in Berlin, Germany.  The top photo is during the warm season and below is the pool covered for use in the off-season.

Floating Cinema Barge in London, UK.


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