Water-borne public transport
By introducing a water taxi service, Rotterdam aimed to optimise the use of the river Nieuwe Maas and reduce the volume of traffic on the city’s roads.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Prior to the introduction of the water taxi, the only water-borne passenger transport by water was the fast ferry between Dordrecht and Rotterdam. The objective of this measure was therefore to make use of the river Nieuwe Maas by introducing a taxi service over 8 km between Schiedam and Feljenoord. The service is similar to a conventional taxi: passengers indicate from which landing stage they wish to embark and where they would like to be taken. The service is offered to individuals as well as to groups of up to eight people and is the fastest connection between destinations on either side of the river, with speeds of up to 50 km/h. The boats operate with a taxi meter and there are no fixed tariffs between landing stages.
The water taxi service was established through cooperation between a private entrepreneur (Maastaxi) and the city of Rotterdam and became fully operational in December 2002. The city of Rotterdam was responsible for the construction of 30 landing stages, the locations of which had to be approved by the Port Authority. The service initially operated with five boats belonging to Maastaxi, and by 2010 there were 10 water taxis in service.
The success of the water taxi service surpassed all expectations. One of the lessons learned was that the construction of a landing stage is a complex project in itself. Each landing stage had its own technical and nautical location-dependent requirements. In Rotterdam, extra efforts were needed to replace the rubber bumpers at the landing stages, and one landing stage had to be relocated due to a low occupancy rate. It was found that legal issues and the division of responsibilities between public and private partners must be clearly described and agreed in advance.