This is exciting stuff! The long-awaited water taxi service from Bradenton to Anna Maria Island has real signs of starting up on time this Summer. Both of the boats, 50′ catamaran-based water taxis that hold 49 passengers each are now on the island.
If all goes as planned, the route will include downtown Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Coquina Beach and the Anna Maria City Pier.
The water taxi service is being operated by Gulf Coast Water Taxi, the same company who has successfully operated the Clearwater Ferry for years.
With views of the Anna Maria City Pier a big part of our ocean view from The Waterfront Restaurant & Craft Bar, we’re excited to see water taxis coming into the Anna Maria City Pier. The taxis are already christened the Miss Anna Maria and Downtown Duchess.
We’re really looking forward to the water taxi making it easier for those in Bradenton to pop over to the City Pier on a quick 35 minute boat ride to come see us for lunch or dinner. Right now, those wanting a night out and a nice waterfront dinner have to make a drive in heavy traffic.
Remaining Hurdles on the Anna Maria Island Water Taxi
The pending Coast Guard trials on the boats take about six weeks to complete if all stays on schedule. In that time, Manatee County has to work out a few details still with the City of Anna Maria regarding their interlocal agreement to operate the taxi and use the Anna Maria Island City Pier stop.
There’s a few things that the County and Anna Maria are having issues coming to agreement on, with the main one being the fares that would be charged (or kept free) for Anna Maria Island workers who use the ferry to commute in from Bradenton or other route stops.
The next meetings regarding the issues are at the next City Commission meeting on Thursday, August 3 at 1:30pm. The meeting is at City Hall at 10005 Gulf Drive.
If the County and city fail to come to terms, it looks like the planned stop at Coquina Beach will continue.
Private Water Taxi Reservations For Groups Will Be Available
The water taxi service will be able to accommodate tour groups and larger groups if you give them advance notice. The policy is 2 weeks notice and you just have to email email@example.com. The rules or policies for their Anna Maria Island water taxi for tour groups, larger families, etc. may change in the future once they are fully operational.