Yesterday the Water Taxi subcommittee met with potential operators at Crocker’s Boat Yard for a pre-bid meeting to answer questions and make sure everyone was clear as to what were the parameters of the Water Taxi service.
Here’s a transcript from the meeting—the final document also has some 2014 photos (included here) to show prospective bidders what they’d be dealing with as far as docking and using the step boarding system. Subcommittee members report that some great prospects were in attendance, so we’re looking forward to receiving proposals!
Thames River Heritage Park Water Taxi Service Operator
Request for Proposals Pre-Submittal Meeting
13 January 2016, Crocker’s Boat Yard, New London, CT
Questions and Answers
Q. Will a walkway over the Shaw’s Cove railroad bridge connecting downtown New London with Fort Trumbull be constructed as has been discussed?
A. The proposed water taxi service is not contingent on that walkway being extended; there are no known plans to have that project move forward in the near future.
Q. What is envisioned for the fare structure?
A. We have discussed this in concept, and would be interested in seeing a fare structure that encourages passengers to disembark and visit the sites as opposed to ride the water taxi all day; we are looking for respondents to propose a fare structure that they think is necessary to operate this service.
Q. What storage facilities are available at night?
A. The boats can be moored at the docks overnight; all other material and supplies must be stored off of the docks at a site to be provided by the operator.
Q. Who is responsible for the maintenance of the boats?
A. During the season when the boats are in operation, the selected operator will be responsible. The TRHP will be responsible for off-season maintenance.
Q. Will the selected operator have any input to the off-season maintenance of the boats?
A. The TRHP plans to work with the selected operator on what maintenance and when it is performed in the off-season.
Q. Before responding to the RFP, potential operators will need firm figures on the value of the boats for determining the insurance costs. When can these figures be made available?
A. A marine surveyor will be inspecting the boats tomorrow and will calculate these figures. These will be made available as soon as they are provided to TRHP.
Q. Are the boats specifications available for review?
A. These will be placed online at www.seccog.org with the responses to these questions.
Q. Where does the funding promised by the State stand?
A. The State of Connecticut General Assembly has committed $100,000 in each of the next two years, for a total of $200,000. An additional $750,000 in bond funds and grants have been applied for but not yet approved.
Q. Has any of the State’s $200,000 been expended yet, and if so, how much and for what?
A. None of the State’s $200,000 has been expended. Monies have been spent from $30,000 in funds provided by the City of Groton, Town of Groton, and City of New London, each of which have donated $10,000 toward the water taxi project. Expenditures to date will be posted online at www.seccog.org with the responses to these questions.
Q. How long have the boats been in storage?
A. The Navy had the boats in storage for ten years. The boats were constructed in 1986, but really never put into service with their engines only having 40 and 41 hours of service on them respectively.
Q. When will the marine survey report be available?
A. It is anticipated it will be completed and we will make it available to you in 7 – 10 days.
Q. What about operating in fog; will radar be considered for purchase by TRHP? The consensus of the prospective operators present was that radar will be required for these boats.
A. The TRHP will evaluate this recommendation and will consider the purchase of radar for the boats using TRHP funds.
Q. What is the operating capacity of the boats with full canvas up?
A. 44 passengers. It was noted that handicap accessibility is not being required/requested.
Q. When preparing a projected alternate budget for inclusion of the USS Nautilus Museum in the second and third year, should the operator include operation there on Tuesdays when the Nautilus Museum is closed?
A. No service to the Nautilus on Tuesdays should be planned for.
Q. How does the TRHP contemplate the boats being boarded?
A. The RFP states that the selected operator provide a set of steps to accommodate the height difference between the boat and the docks. See accompanying photos from 2014 demo project illustrating how the water taxi was boarded at the City of Groton dock.
Q. Will painting the boats in the off-season be the responsibility of the operator or the TRHP?
A. More than likely, the TRHP will assume responsibility for this.
Q. Is it the responsibility of the operator to fuel the boats?
Q. Does the fueling have to be done at a specific location?
A. No. Where the boats are fueled and where the fuel is purchased from is up to the selected operator.
Q. The transom in the stern of one of the boats has a crack requiring repair. Who is responsible for that repair?
A. The TRHP. That repair is planned to be made before the boat is put in service.