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Water taxi surveys tally up support

A total of 224 passengers on the Thames River water taxi that ran for two weekends this month responded to an online survey about the service, with 97 percent saying they had a positive experience.

The water taxi, run as a pilot project as part of organizing efforts for a proposed Thames River Heritage Park, provided free service to about 4,200 passengers over the four days, carrying them between City Pier and Fort Trumbull in New London and Groton City. Many of the passengers rode multiple legs, so the total number of individuals who rode the vessel is estimated at about 1,000. That means that more than 20 percent responded to the survey.

The park project and survey are both projects initiated by the Avery-Copp House in Groton, one of the sites that would be part of the proposed park.

Penny Parsekian, development, communications and special projects consultant for the Avery-Copp House, said Friday that she was pleased with the number of responses. The survey results are being shared with state agencies and other groups to enlist support for the park, she said. Supporters are hoping to have permanent water taxi service by next summer.

Among other findings of the survey:

• 96 percent of respondents said they would ride the water taxi again to visit area attractions.

• 90 percent said they would use it to shop, dine or just enjoy the ride; about 55 percent said they would use it to catch a train and about 17 percent said they would use it to commute to work.

• About half the survey respondents came from Groton, Mystic and Noank, and about one-quarter came from New London. About 7 percent were from Waterford, with smaller percentages from Montville, East Lyme, Stonington, Ledyard and out-of-state.

• Positive comments included praise for operators, volunteers and organizers; recognition that the water taxi would benefit the region's economy and tourism assets, and support for the vessel as an alternative to driving.

• Negative comments included: passengers wanting more service than was offered, those who wanted transportation from the Groton City ferry landing up the hill to Fort Griswold and those who wanted a larger vessel with more signs.

j.benson@theday.com

Twitter: @BensonJudy

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