The Bike Ferry completed a record number of operating days during 2013, with service more than 8 weeks longer than in any previous year, from mid-June to Columbus Day!
Thank you toVBT Bicycling and Walking Vacationsfor being the Bike Ferry's premier sponsor for the past 5 years! Thanks also to the Town of Colchester, Town of South Hero, VT Fish & Wildlife, VTrans, FHWA and many other partners.
We'll post the 2014 Bike Ferry Schedule in the Spring. Meanwhile, the Causeway remains open subject to intermittent weekday closures as described at right.
With significant flood damage to the Colchester - South Hero causeway section of the Island Line Trail, Local Motion cancelled the entire 2011 & 2012 Bike Ferry seasons. Both the southern causeway section owned by the Town of Colchester and the northern causeway section owned by VT Fish & Wildlife Department sustained extensive erosion damage. Click here for photos of the damage.
Click to read card!
While it was a set back and financial challenge to cancel our 10th and 11th year of demonstration ferry service across the cut in the causeway, it gave Local Motion and trail managers the opportunity to focus on comprehensive repairs and improvements that will enable full-season ferry service. Thank you to VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations for underwriting Local Motion’s continued ferry development.
STAKEHOLDERS SET UP FUND FOR TRAIL REPAIR & CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
To help trail managers fund the repairs to the Burlington Bike Path and the Colchester - South Hero Causeway, stakeholders launched a ‘Friends of the Island Line Trail’ committee and a related charitable fund. FEMA funding required a 25% local match and host communities did not have this funding in their current budgets. As a result, residents and local businesses stepped up to raise critical matching funds. 2011 and 2012 included more than a dozen successful fundraising events which enabled us to reach our goal to see the 2011 damages repaired and move forward with our vision of a viable bike ferry service.
Special recognition goes out to the owners and stewards of the causeway and its' approaches - the Town of Colchester, and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. Without their support, partnership, and on-going investment in the major repairs, ongoing maintenance and improvement of this truly unique linear park, the Bike Ferry would not be possible. Their efforts ensure that the Island Line Trail is a safe and enjoyable experience for all local users, as well as for visitors from around the state and around the world! We would also like to recognize the Town of South Hero for their support over the years, most recently, for taking action to make South Street safer for cyclists by lowering speed limits, installing share-the-road signage, and increasing shoulder widths by narrowing vehicle lanes, a proven traffic-calming measure.
Local Motion's first bike ferry ran across the mouth of the Winooski River between Delta Park in Colchester and the Auer Family Boat House in Burlington. It all started when Brian Costello stopped Chapin Spencer on Burlington's College Street in 1997. Brian told Chapin of his vision to connect the Colchester Causeway Park with the Burlington Bike Path. Brian donated a motor and Chapin donated a boat. Charlie and Christine at Auer's Boat House agreed to host the ferry service. Governor Dean and community leader Bill Hauke were a couple of our first passengers in 1998.
'Big Fix' Construction Begins on the Colchester Causeway:
Construction on the Island Line Trail/Colchester Causeway and Ferry Docks at ‘The Cut’ is is ongoing. During October & November, construction crews will widen the Trail near The Cut, and begin building new Bike Ferry docking and landing systems. Construction vehicles will be accessing the project from both the Colchester side at Mills Point Road and the South Hero side at Martin Road. The project will be completed in the spring of 2014.
Specific Trail News for the month of November through December 13: The Causeway on both the South Hero and Colchester sides will be closed to the public Mondays thru Fridays in November & the first half of December. Flaggers will be directing traffic at times. The trail will be open every weekend. There will be construction barriers and signing in place for your safety.
2013 Ferry Schedule
Fall: Thru 10/14/13 Saturdays, Sundays & Columbus Day 10am to 6pm
2013 Ferry Fares
The ferry doesn't run on love alone... though we wish it did! The service costs about $100,000/yr -- and fares cover about 40%. Thanks for your support!
The Toronto Star published a nice travel piece about what it's like to ride the Bike Ferry. Click here to read it.
Until major upgrades are made in 2014, the Bike Ferry remains unable to operate in high wind / high wave conditions. When the wind is from the South and blowing over 15mph, please check the ferry's operating status before heading out on the trail. Thanks.
More on Ferry Fare Policy
In addition to the fare information above, we offer the following detail:
The fares listed above and through other channels are suggested fares. We acknowledge that many people arrive at the cut in the causeway without money or with not enough money. Some trail users arrive at 'the cut' not knowing that a ferry ride is needed to get to the adjacent community. Others in our community, for economic reasons, are unable to afford the full fare amount. For all of these reasons, we will welcome passengers to board who are unable to pay the full fare. We will offer them remittance envelopes for the opportunity to send in money when and if they are able. Local Motion believes this bike/pedestrian ferry serves as an important transportation and recreational resource in the region and should be able to be enjoyed by all. This policy seeks to balance the needs of the community with the financial needs of providing this service.
For more information, please contact Local Motion (802-861-2700).
Local Motion is a member-supported non-profit organization promoting people-powered transportation and recreation for healthy and sustainable Vermont communities. Learn more.