The city’s decision to return two pontoon boats ordered by Mayor Alvin Brown doesn’t mean the end of water taxis in Jacksonville.
The service linking downtown Jacksonville's north and south banks was suspended a few weeks ago when the company running the taxis decided it wasn’t in their best interest to continue. The mayor then spent $338,000 from the city’s emergency fund on two new water taxis, but city lawmakers balked at the expenditure.
On Friday, the city canceled the sale and decided to go ahead with a formal search for a new company to provide and operate the water taxis for the next three to five years. An offer that same day from Beaver Street Fisheries owner Harry Frisch could make that search unnecessary, said city spokesperson Pam Roman.
"He indicated he would be willing to purchase the boats," Roman said. "So we have the two options, it looks like. We have the ability to move forward with the (request for proposal), which we are doing at this point, and then we also have the option to possibly work with Mr. Frisch.”
Roman said the city is working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue.