Drivers who commute from Prince William County, VIrginia to the D.C.-area know the drive can be a slow and frustrating one. As countywide talks of increasing public transit options continue, a push for an option that would take commuters off the road and put them on the water is gaining steam.
“My guess is a year or two from now, people will be able to take a ferry out of the Occoquan and/or the Belmont Bay area into D.C. in under an hour,” said Frank Principi, Woodbridge District Supervisor on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
On Thursday, Principi gathered with members of the community, including business leaders and members of area transit groups for the 2017 Fast Ferry Summit.The fast ferry plan is still in the early stages, and is looking at the feasibility, cost and benefit of creating a private/public partnership to provide ferry service during the morning and afternoon hours for commuters.“
There is a big market here in the Woodbridge area,” said Willem Polak a consultant with the Potomac River Boat Company. Polak previously owned the D.C.-area ferry boat company before recently selling it to Entertainment Cruises.
Polak said the company which already runs water taxis between Alexandria, D.C. and National Harbor is studying the eastern Prince William County market as a possible additional destination for their new 149-person, yellow water taxis, which will soon hit the waters of the Potomac.“
A great way to go to work, sit back, have a cup of coffee, WiFi, 40-45 minutes later your walk to work at DOT, HUD or wherever that may be,” Polak said.
A federal grant worth $173,000 is being used to look at possible departure points for a water taxi, and what it will cost to build the infrastructure needed to provide service.