Water taxi service takes a hit during RNC

Shuttle service struggles

TAMPA, Fla. - A local boat captain hoped to cash in on the Republican National Convention.  But business isn't what he thought it would be this week. Captain Larry Salkin never thought he'd be spending his week on the dock with just his first mate.

Captain Salkin said, "It's been dead. We've had virtually no business."

Captain Salkin planned to shuttle people from Rick's on the River to the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel to avoid heavy traffic and to get out on the water. But that never happened. Captain Salkin said, "The weather put them off but they've been working very hard. They've been working 12 hours a day just or 10 hours or so at the actual RNC. So plus all the meetings before hand and parties after."

This week, he only launched four times, taking news crews on the water to see the city. He says people who live in the Tampa area are avoiding the Tampa Bay Times Forum altogether. Captain Salkin said, "They're afraid to come downtown because of all the security and everything just getting in and out of downtown. They're staying away."

The captain tells me 6 people made shuttle reservations, but didn't show. That's until Alan Acree arrived with family from out of town. Acree said, "It's obviously a better way to get around and see the sights and see the downtown area, the Channelside and the Harbor Island, Davis Island type places that you just can't get to because of all the traffic."

Captain Salkin hopes people will get some down-time after the RNC ends tonight and stick around to try his service this holiday weekend.

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