After receiving final approval from the U.S. Coast Guard at the end of March, American River Taxi (ART) has finally begun regular water taxi service, with the first regularly scheduled commuter run made by the "Dolley Madison" at 8am this morning. According to Anne Tabligan, VP Marketing and Sales for ART, all of the boats in the fleet will be named for First Ladies that have been advocates for the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. So far, there is just the Dolley Madison, but more vessels will come in the next few years. Fares are currently being offered at a discount of $8 per ride (normally priced at $9) until membership cards become available. Seniors and children under 12 receive discounted fares (members of the military will also receive discounts soon). Discounted fares will also be available when purchasing multiple trips. Tickets can be purchased on board or at a kiosk (either at Cantina Marina or Tony & Joe's in Georgetown).
There are currently three stops on the route (The Gangplank Marina at The Wharf, Washington Harbor along the Georgetown waterfront, and Diamond Teague Park across from Nationals Park). Plans are in the works to add stops in Alexandria and National Harbor. Eventually, there will be other stops at Poplar Point and Reagan National Airport. Regular service will run from 10am - 6pm Monday - Friday (with an 8am commuter run) and Saturday from 11am - 9pm. There's no service currently on Sunday, but this schedule is just for April - May as the water taxi service gets underway and may expand hours in the summer. ART will shut down for about eight weeks in the winter (December - February) while captains get additional training and the vessels undergo regular maintenance. Washingtonians (and Southwesters in particular) now have another option to get around the city.