City Of Philadelphia Scuttles Duck Boat Tours

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Michael Nutter says the idea of putting duck boats on the Schuylkill River simply does not float. The Nutter administration announced Tuesday that it is rejecting a plan to allow the amphibious tour vehicles on the Schuylkill.

“The ability to access the Schuylkill, at least at the location that was proposed, from my perspective certainly, just operationally — it really just did not work,” Mayor Nutter told KYW Newsradio Tuesday morning.

After a fatal accident last summer involving a duck boat on the Delaware River (see related story), the city and the tour operator explored the possibility of moving the water portion of the tours to the Schuylkill River, where the passenger boats would not face the danger of collisions with barges and other commercial traffic.

Additional related Duck Boats stories

Residents in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood, and Fairmount Park advocates, had criticized the idea, saying allowing duck boats on the Schuylkill would adversely impact recreational uses on and near the river.

The city opened the discussion to potential competitors, but only the “Ride The Ducks” company responded. In the end, city officials decided that a duck tour operation was not a good fit for the city.

City managing director Richard Negrin said in a statement: “We appreciate Ride the Ducks efforts to address community concerns, but when all is said and done the proposal’s potential traffic impact, the number of vessels that could be on the river at one time, and the inability for the tours to operate during special events were issues with which the city was uncomfortable.”

Jericka Duncan reports…

After learning of the city’s decision, Chris Herschend, president of Ride The Ducks, issued a statement saying he was disappointed but would work to resume operations on the Delaware River.

“At a time when jobs and tourism revenue play such an important role in Philadelphia, we are doing our best to work with local officials, residents, and businesses to provide a tour experience that can be enjoyed by all…. As previously announced, the United States Coast Guard has given RTD approval to resume operations on the Delaware. We will continue to work with officials to open for the season this spring,” Herschend said in a written statement.

“We anticipate resuming operations here in Philadelphia. We’re not quite sure when, but it looks like as of today, we’ll be focusing on the Delaware River, which we’re very comfortable operating in safely,” he told KYW Newsradio.

Herschend says the Coast Guard already has approved a plan by the Duck Boats operator to go back out onto the river. He says while there are no legal obstacles to the tours resuming, Herschend wants to work with the city and others to address any lingering concerns in the wake of last summer’s accident.

Two Hungarian students died last July after a duck boat was run down by a barge being pushed by a tug on the Delaware. The NTSB investigation of that incident is ongoing.

Reported by Mike Dunn and Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Charter Bus DC says:

    The operator of a duck boat that sank in a July collision on the Delaware River in Philadelphia has lost its bid to resume tours on another, smaller river in the city and is trying to begin anew on the Delaware.

    The tours have been halted since two Hungarian tourists were killed in the collision with a barge.

    City managing director Richard Negrin cited road- and water-traffic concerns Tuesday as among the reasons for rejecting a proposal to move the tours to the smaller Schuylkill (SKOO-kill) River.

  2. Copyright Attorney says:

    Here is a similar story

    The operator of a duck boat that sank in a July collision on the Delaware River in Philadelphia has lost its bid to resume tours on another, smaller river in the city and is trying to begin anew on the Delaware.

    The tours have been halted since two Hungarian tourists were killed in the collision with a barge.

    City managing director Richard Negrin cited road- and water-traffic concerns Tuesday as among the reasons for rejecting a proposal to move the tours to the smaller Schuylkill (SKOO-kill) River.

  3. Rob says:

    good your city doesnt deserve them anyway….they belong on the charles river in boston ONLY. Where its clean and impossible for them to hit a barge and kill people. Good luck with your tourism philly

  4. McJeff says:

    As of the only bidder for this type of service you think the city would have sent a check to them, maybe they should petition Arlene Ackerman for the contract.

  5. bottomline says:

    Put the boats back on the Delaware! If we closed down everything that had a failure we’d have nothing, except City Hall.

    1. grumpy says:

      bottomline: I agree! If it wasn’t that the tug boat was off of it’s normal course we wouldn’t have had this issue at all. This operation seemed to have worked good up until that happened. KEEP THEM ON THE DELAWARE.

  6. Hobo Joe says:

    Hmmmm! They were a good fit until a CITY contractor ran them over. NUTTER just leave office so we can get a really leader!
    @ Anne…Be real, what would they do with them? They are not even city property & Tastycake can barely offered making cakes! Duh, comments like that is Y this Chity is in such trouble!

    1. Anne Frankenstein says:

      You actually took me seriously, duh!

  7. djedc says:

    Just set up operation over in Camden.
    Let them have some of the profits.

  8. Wayne H says:

    Good riddance. The boats are an eyesore and obviously dangerous. I never felt they fit in with the historic theme of the city. Leave them up in Boston

    1. Norm says:

      City doesn’t care about historic theme or family tourism. They care about their big new, empty convention center. Too bad the unions are driving convention business away. Great move, Nutter!

  9. Norm says:

    And another business departs. Good job, Nutter. When the last business leaves Philadelphia, please remember to turn the lights out.

  10. Anne Frankenstein says:

    YAAAAAAAAAAAY! They should donate the boats to Tastykake.

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