Find the answers to your most pressing questions about the Local Motion Bike Ferry!
Why “The Cut?”
Back in the day when the Causeway was the Island Line Railroad running from Rutland to Montreal, a swing bridge was built right near the north end of the line. Employees had a house right there; they were paid to open and close the bridge to boat traffic needing to pass through to and from Mallet’s Bay and Lake Champlain. When the railroad was dismantled, the bridge also came down. Now it is a 200-foot gap in the line. Up until the bike ferry came to the gap in 2005, cyclists and pedestrians (no motorized vehicles on the Causeway) couldn’t pass to the other side. But with our ingenious seasonal Bike Ferry, everyone can cross The Cut to the other side. We love to say The Cut.
From The Cut, going onto the Champlain Islands, where can we get something to eat?
Ah, the #1 question. Our Dockside Ambassadors will gladly inform you of the various eating options up near South Hero, including Allenholm Farm (maple creemees!), Seb’s (maple creemees!), a nifty little spot named The Accidental Farmer Café, the iconic Blue Paddle, and others nearby. A great map listing the eating establishments within a 5-mile radius of the ferry is available from our staff (ask for the black and white photocopy since originals are now out of print).
Can the Bike Ferry accommodate tandem bikes?
Oh yes, for sure. We can carry recumbent bikes, trikes, strollers, hitch-hiker bikes for parent/kid, you name it. Bring it on. But note that if the tandem is rented from us at Local Motion, rental staff should have told you that our tandems are not to go over to the Islands.
Why not. We’re all about inclusivity and equal opportunity.
What if I get a flat tire riding on the Causeway?
Well, we can help you: We carry a small stock of tubes on board the boat for your donation dollars, and we have a bicycle pump. Our able staff is ready for any challenge thrown at them!
Why do we pay $8 for a ticket? Seems like a lot.
Hey, it's $8 round trip! We’d love to say we could transport you for less. But the ferry doesn’t live on love alone. It costs more than $200,000 to run these ferries for just over 100 days of service each summer. Fares bring in less than half of that. We’re a non-profit dialing for dollars just like the next guy.
And just like the big ferries on the lake (the four of them in the area), we have to comply with the big boy rules and regulations of the waters. We have to pay fees for Coast Guard certification and have our Captains and Deckhands join the Maritime Consortium -- never mind the cost of boat gas, yadda, yadda, and more yadda.
We gratefully and gladly accept donations and gifts from generous donors who love the concept, who love cycling, who love the water, and who want to keep the Island Line bike ferry in operation. We are forever grateful to the support that keeps us afloat! We could not do this without you.
And many thanks go to our partners at VTrans who are supporting ferry operations with a grant from the state's bike and pedestrian program. It is thanks to the many individual donors, and to local and state agency partners like VTrans, that we were able to rebuild the causeway and re-open the bike ferry after the devastating spring floods of 2011.
How about bathrooms? My daughter has to go…
Our Port-o-Potty, and a second one placed by Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife Department, sits on the north side of The Cut. On the south side, she can find bathrooms at Airport Park, less than a mile from the southern end of the Causeway.
Swim! Jump in anywhere along the Causeway off those big granite and marble boulders. It’s so refreshing. At The Cut, we’d advise you to stay clear of the entire tip of the Causeway where we, and plenty of other boats, operate.
What are those little black creatures running around the rocks? Are they black squirrels?
No, they’re minks. Aren’t they cute?
What if I rent a bike at Local Motion’s Trailside Center, and ride to The Cut, take the ferry, and while riding on the Islands, I have a bike breakdown?
Please call the Trailside Center for guidance. They won’t come and get you, but they’ll advise you what to do. If you’re on the ferry, or on the southern side of The Cut, however, we have a cool solution to a broken down bike: We put you on a foldable “rescue” bike to get back to the Trailside Center. So all is not lost.
What’s the distance across The Cut?
A mere 200 feet.
What if the weather blows up, or lightening strikes nearby?
We run in all kinds of weather, and we’re safe in winds up to 30 mph. We WILL close temporarily for lightening storms, but we have not closed for the whole day in a couple years. We keep close tabs on the weather in this exposed area; if we do close down for the day, we have an Emergency Closing Plan protocol of informing the public – via our website, with signs posted at both ends of the Causeway, and as a phone message at Local Motion.
Do you sell food or water at the Ferry?
That’s a no on the food (you’re on your own), but we do have cold water available for a donation.