Commuters impressed on ferry's first day


May 20, 2014
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

On the first day of the long-awaited Lynn-Boston passenger ferry, The Daily Item sent a team of reporters on a commuting race from the Lynn ferry terminal to see who would make it first to the ferry’s Boston destination at Central Wharf. The ferry riders won. You’re welcome to share your experiences with the new ferry at or on The Daily Item’s Facebook page.

Brigid Welber rode her bicycle from Marblehead Monday and was giddy as she wheeled it onto the 8 a.m. Lynn ferry for her morning commute to Boston.

“I am so excited. This is so awesome,” she said. “This is the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

The Cetacea, run by Boston Harbor Cruises, made its maiden voyage at 6:30 a.m. from Blossom Street Landing to Boston’s Central Wharf at the Marriott Long Wharf. Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Executive Director James Cowdell said 60 commuters took the ferry at sunrise, including City Councilors Brendan Crighton and Buzzy Barton. Another 74 stepped aboard for the 8 a.m. ride, including state Sen. Thomas McGee, who said his wife and daughter took the earlier ferry and “thought it was awesome.”

McGee called the ferry just the beginning of what he is sure will be an economic boom for the city. He also joked that cruising home can be a great antidote to a bad day.

Welber grew up in Hull where she, like most locals, took a ferry daily. She said it was not uncommon to see a group of men playing cards in the corner while a group of women sat on the other side knitting during the commute.

“This is faster,” she said.

The ferry ride from Lynn to Boston and vice versa runs just about 35 minutes. The ship can hold up to 250 passengers with seating both inside and out and sells snacks along with coffee, beer and wine.

Aimee Bowman sat starboard on an outside bench, with one hand on a baby stroller, watching the Lynn coastline race by.

“I work at home but the job is in Boston,” she said. “It’s very difficult bringing a baby stroller on the T.”

Bowman said Blossom Street Landing is a 15-minute walk from her home in Lynn, and the Long Wharf is a five-minute walk to her job, where she has to check in periodically. She said she would take the ferry over the train as often as she could.

“My sister lives in Hingham so she takes a ferry all the time, and I’ve always been a little bit jealous,” she added.

James Geller had nowhere in particular to be Monday, but he took the ferry because he appreciates that it’s there, he said.

“It’s like the old adage, I’m afraid if we don’t use it, it will go away,” he said sitting topside, outside reading the paper. “The big advantage is no traffic.”

Kristen Shoer also sat topside taking photos as the ship made the turn around Deer Island and headed for Boston Harbor. She said she typically takes the train to State Street in downtown Boston but called the ferry ride much more relaxing.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’ve already changed my T pass.”

Downstairs Tia Cole and Amanda Theriault, along with a couple of friends, pointed out sights while shepherding six small children. Cole said they were on their way to the Museum of Science. Typically they would have “trekked” in by train.

“This is so much nicer,” she said. “I said I wanted to start coming into Boston a lot more, and this is a great way to travel.”

“It’s really pleasant,” added Theriault.

Alex Davis of Lynn sat on a bench in the bow of the boat catching the brunt of the wind. He said he enjoyed the commute but wasn’t sure it was feasible.

Davis said he works 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and would have to kill an hour before he could catch the next boat home, which would be fine if it were financially worthwhile.

“If I could get a 1A pass for $70 then I would consider it,” he said. “But I’ll have to weigh it with parking and everything else.”

Like Davis, Adele Kalogeris said the evening hours could be a bit more accommodating, but her husband loves the fact he no longer has to drive her into the city each day. The Lynner works in the Financial District and is typically dropped off at work by her husband, who then drives to his job in Andover.

Cowdell said there is always the chance the hours of operation could be expanded if all goes well.

Boat owner Rick Nolan said there are also plans to offer ticket transfers so people could take the Lynn ferry into Boston then jump on the ferry to Provincetown or the Boston Harbor Islands State Park.

“So you can go to Cape Cod for the day,” he said. “A trip to P-town is 90 minutes.”

“This is fantastic, it’s a dream come true,” said Erica Cushman of Swampscott, standing in the bow, the wind whipping her hair into a frenzy.

“This is the way to go to work … I will take this daily. The only thing is you can’t have a good hairstyle.”


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