by Mallory Culhane
In February, the Tampa Pirate Water Taxi will be expanding its fleet, stops and routes to aid long-term growth and prepare for the 2021 Super Bowl in Tampa.
The taxi will introduce three new boats, doubling the current fleet, which will result in a 25% increase in passengers, according to the President and CEO of the taxi’s parent company, Yacht StarShip, Troy Manthey.
The expansion cost about $1.6 million between the three new boats. The most expensive of which cost $1.4 million to make. The vessel, named Captain Jack II, will hold 100 passengers and includes a bar, open-air seating, a bathroom, and is climate-controlled.
The two other boats are smaller, costing about $100,000 each at a little under eight feet tall.
The smaller 20-seat boats were designed specifically to travel underneath the Meridian Bridge at high tide, which will connect to new stops including the Florida Aquarium.
Currently, the water taxi has stops that hit popular spots such as Curtis Hixon Park and Waterworks Park near Armature Works. The taxis will now stop at the Florida Aquarium and American Victory Ship and Museum.
The three new boats will be able to split routes between the waterfronts. The Tampa Convention Center will act as a transfer hub for the fleet. One will cover the route stretching from the aquarium to the convention center, which will include the Davis Island stops. The other will run from the convention center to Rick’s on the River, past Waterworks Park.
With the added boats, despite having more stops, the taxis will be able to increase their frequency at stops.
The Lost Pearl, a red pirate ship, was also debuted earlier this month by the company. The ship will run from the Tampa Convention Center. The company also hopes to add a seventh vessel by the end of 2020.
Mallory Culhane can be reached at email@example.com