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Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report

Table of Contents
Section ES Title Page

Executive Summary ...................................................................................... ES-1 Markets for Ferry Services ........................................................................ ES-2 Potential Services and Routes .................................................................. ES-2 Passenger Ferryboat Characteristics ........................................................ ES-3 Berthing and Terminal Characteristics ...................................................... ES-3 Ferry Service Operators ............................................................................ ES-5 Environmental Impacts .............................................................................. ES-5 Economic Analysis .................................................................................... ES-5 Potential Funding Sources ........................................................................ ES-7 Recommended Ferry Services .................................................................. ES-7 Introduction ......................................................................................................1-1 Purpose ........................................................................................................1-1 Background ..................................................................................................1-1 Report Organization .....................................................................................1-1 Development and Evaluation of Alternatives ................................................2-1 Ridership Market ..........................................................................................2-1 Ridership Estimation and Forecasts.............................................................2-2 Potential Ferry Routes..................................................................................2-3 Potential Ferry Service Operators ................................................................2-7 Ferryboat Characteristics ................................................................................3-1 Navigational Constraints...............................................................................3-1 Ferryboat Types ...........................................................................................3-1 Regulatory Requirements.............................................................................3-3 Berthing and Terminal Characteristics ..........................................................4-1 Site Selection Criteria for Potential Terminal Sites.......................................4-1 Terminal Site Considerations .......................................................................4-3 Logistics and Out-of-Service Berthing ..........................................................4-9 Environmental Review .....................................................................................5-1 Ferry Operations...........................................................................................5-1 Terminal Operations .....................................................................................5-2 Marine Life....................................................................................................5-2 Economic Analysis ..........................................................................................6-1 Capital Costs ................................................................................................6-1 Operating Costs............................................................................................6-3 Associated Costs..........................................................................................6-7

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Ferry Recommendations Initial Service ......................................................7-1 Ferry Services ..............................................................................................7-1 Ferryboats ....................................................................................................7-1 Terminals......................................................................................................7-1 Costs ............................................................................................................7-1 Estimated Revenues ....................................................................................7-3 Potential Annual Deficit ................................................................................7-3 Potential Funding Sources ...........................................................................7-3

APPENDICES Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E Request for Expressions of Interest to Operate a Potential New Passenger Ferry Service on Mobile Bay Terminal Site Evaluation Wake Wash Issues on Mobile Bay U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Letter of April 29, 2004 Potential Weekday and Weekend/Holiday Schedules

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List of Figures
Figure ES.1 2.1 2.2 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Title Page Potential Passenger Ferry Routes and Terminals........................................... ES-4 Potential Passenger Ferry Routes .....................................................................2-4 One-way Voyage Time (minutes) for Mobile-Fairhope (Long Pier) Route .........2-5 Proposed Ferry Terminal Fairhope..................................................................4-4 Proposed Ferry Terminal Gulf Shores.............................................................4-5 Proposed Ferry Terminal Point Clear ..............................................................4-6 Proposed Ferry Terminal Fowl River...............................................................4-7 Proposed Ferry Terminal Daphne ...................................................................4-8

List of Tables
Table ES.1 ES.2 Title Page Estimated Capital Costs for Initial Mobile-Fairhope Ferry Service .................. ES-6 Estimated Annual Operating Statement for Initial Mobile-Fairhope Ferry Service ............................................................................................. ES-6 Survey Summary Interest in Ferry Service......................................................2-2 Mileages and Voyage Durations for Selected One-way Voyages on Mobile Bay....................................................................................................2-5 Estimated Automobile Travel Times Between Selected Locations ....................2-6 Comparison of Automobile Trip Times and Ferry Voyage Times Between Selected Mobile Bay Locations .....................................................2-6 Potential Ferry Terminal Site Evaluation ............................................................4-2 Estimated Capital Costs for Selected Ferryboats and Hovercraft ......................6-1 Estimated Costs of Ferry Terminals by Location................................................6-2 Estimated Capital Costs for Terminals, Ferryboats, and Fairhope Shuttle (current dollars) ................................................................................6-2 Estimated Wage Cost Input for Ferryboat Crews ...............................................6-4 Fuel Consumption at Operating Speed for Selected Ferryboats and a Hovercraft Ferry (gallons per hour) ..............................................................6-4 Average Operating Costs per Hour for Selected Ferryboats..............................6-6 Operating Cost per Passenger-Mile at Different Capacity Utilization Levels......6-7 Estimated Capital Costs for Initial Mobile-Fairhope Ferry Service .....................7-2 Estimated Annual Operating Statement for Initial Mobile-Fairhope Ferry Service..........................................................................................................7-2

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4

4.1 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 7.1 7.2

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E xecutive Summary
In mid-2004, the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC), on behalf of the City of Mobile, commissioned a study to evaluate potential expansion of regional connectivity between Mobile County and Baldwin County. The specific study purpose was to assess the feasibility for passenger ferry service on Mobile Bay and a transit connection between downtown Mobile and the regional airport. Day Wilburn Associates, Inc. (DWA), the consultant retained for the study, worked closely with SARPC staff and a Study Advisory Committee which was formed to provide guidance on recommendations and products. Membership on the committee included representatives from SARPC, the City of Mobile, Metro Transit, Mobile County, Baldwin County, Baldwin Area Rural Transportation System (BRATS), City of Fairhope, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Mobile Regional Airport, Alabama Department of Transportation, and Alabama State Docks. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Mobile Countys population increased by 5.6 percent from 1990 to 2000, and Baldwin Countys increased by 42.9 percent. This strong area population growth, expansion of area tourism, and inauguration of the new Mobile cruise ship terminal will correspondingly increase demand on the Mobile/Baldwin transportation system. Additional work, social, shopping, and visitor trips will be made, and it is becoming more difficult to effectively meet this demand through expansion of the roadway network. As no alternative transportation modes currently link Mobile and Baldwin Counties, there is significant growing demand on the regional transportation system. The study identified specific passenger ferry and transit connection options which would offer unique and innovative alternatives to the relatively long and circuitous highway routes within the Mobile Bay area, as well as establish a direct link between numerous regional activity centers. Potential regional benefits which could result from implementation of these new transportation services include enhancing the existing transportation system, stimulating economic development, reducing environmental impacts, and offering additional mobility options for area residents and visitors. The passenger ferry service study element addressed implications for establishing passenger ferry service on Mobile Bay between downtown Mobile and prospective eastern and western shore locations. The study considered potential ridership markets, routes, types and sizes of ferryboats, and terminals best suited to this operation. The analyses addressed the following specific areas: Markets for ferry service Potential ferry services and routes Passenger ferryboat characteristics Berthing and terminal characteristics Ferry service operators Potential environmental impacts Economic analysis Potential funding sources

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Markets for Ferry Services The customer base of passenger ferry service on Mobile Bay includes commuter trips to and from Mobile employment centers, reverse commute trips from Mobile primarily to eastern shore (Baldwin County) destinations, casual local users, and area visitors seeking either destination specific attractions or sightseeing opportunities. The study identified likely trip destinations, as well as ferry service hours and frequencies targeted to serving those markets. Several methods were used to estimate ferry ridership. General public, employee, and employer interest in using passenger ferry service was estimated through a series of surveys. An expanded Mobile urbanized study area travel demand model was developed and used to estimate future passenger ferry trips. Because ferry service is unfamiliar to most current Mobile area travelers, the transportation model can only provide preliminary estimates. The study estimated a three percent market share for the ferry service. This estimate also reflected reported experience from ferry service operations in other parts of the nation. The 2001 Mobile Downtown Transportation Plan projected anticipated ferry ridership for the new service. Although it used a different methodology, the plan projected approximately the same ridership. This study estimated 600 daily one-way passenger trips by the end of the first year of service. Creating a seamless multimodal connection at each ferry terminal end is required for optimal implementation. This would include coordination with Mobile and Eastern Shore public and private transportation providers. Potential Ferry Services and Routes Potential routes were carefully considered to take advantage of likely customer markets, concentrations of households, jobs or attractions, potential terminal sites, and connecting transportation modes. Comparison of travel times for water and auto modes was an important factor in assessing customer attraction to ferry services. Water voyage times included time at the dock, docking and undocking, and travel in restricted and unrestricted waterways. Weighing key factors, including potential customer markets and ferry operating speeds, indicated that initial services should be implemented between Mobile and Fairhope, followed by limited services to/from Gulf Shores and Point Clear. It is anticipated that, during the first year, the Mobile-Fairhope ferry service would provide 17 to 19 round-trips each weekday, operating between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, including nine to eleven peak period round-trips. On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, 11 round-trips would be provided between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM. Other routes and/or services would be added as market awareness, ridership potential, ferryboat capacity, and terminal facilities allow. The potential ferry routes are shown in Figure ES.1. State and local agency regulations must also be considered in establishing a ferry service. The state port authority and local jurisdictions can establish speed limits over selected waters. Public agencies have authority over public lands that can be used for terminals. State coastal zone management and environmental agencies regulate air, water, land, noise, and other ecological impacts potentially stemming from construction and use of shoreline property.

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A separate document, the Passenger Ferry Concept and Implementation Plan, presents various organizational/operations approaches and jurisdictional roles. There are a number of passenger ferryboat operators with credentials, experience, and interest in operating ferry services. The study identified nine potential companies, which were then invited to submit an expression of interest in the proposed service. Four of the nine companies submitted statements of interest and qualifications. Passenger Ferryboat Characteristics Careful consideration was given to recommending appropriate ferryboats for service. Ferryboat passenger capacity, operating speeds, cost, and operating characteristics were considered. Ferries can be built from either an existing or a new design, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Selection of the ferryboat should take into account the U.S. Coast Guards regulatory standards for vessel classes. The design of choice should provide the desired combination of performance, attributes, and features while meeting U.S. Coast Guard requirements. Another factor to be considered in making a final selection on the type of ferryboat is the flexibility for use in other types of operations that could increase system revenue and reduce operating deficit. For example, ferryboats often are used for harbor or bay cruises during non-peak hours and some ferryboats are also chartered for private functions. Five different types of ferryboats utilizing a range of technologies were considered, including hovercraft. The ferryboat recommended for service has a catamaran hull, is capable of operating at 40 knots, has low wake characteristics, and a capacity for approximately 75 passengers. Berthing and Terminal Characteristics Selection of berthing and terminal sites from among 13 waterfront candidate sites, including ten located on Mobile Bays eastern shore, was based on: Potential ridership (distribution of trip generation, trip type) Waterside access (water depths, ease of navigation, usefulness of existing piers) Upland access (convenient parking, proximity to trip generators) Multimodal access (access to local bus, van, parking, sidewalks) Other considerations (environmental impacts, land use conflicts)

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Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report Figure ES.1 Potential Passenger Ferry Routes

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Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report

The berthing and terminal selection process identified five high scoring locations as potential terminal sites. These included Municipal (Long) Pier in Fairhope, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at the SR 59 Bridge in Gulf Shores, the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Fowl River at the SR 193 Bridge in Mon Louis (Mobile County), and Bayfront Park in Daphne. The Mobile Landing location near Cooper Park in Mobile was not included in the evaluation since that site was specifically selected and built to serve potential passenger ferry operations. As previously mentioned, the Fairhope site was selected for initial development along with a terminal in Gulf Shores. Limited service to Point Clear would initially utilize existing terminal facilities. Maintaining ferry equipment will require a separate location suitable for accomplishing daily maintenance, running maintenance requirements, and performing shipyard/boatyard projects. Ferry maintenance should be separate from passenger terminals yet close to Mobile Landing. For the service start-up, a temporary location at an existing facility will be sufficient. Eventually, a dedicated site for a permanent maintenance facility will be needed. Two potential sites were considered: the Alabama State Docks property on the Three Mile Creek/Industrial Canal and the Alabama Department of Transportation property on the eastern side of the Mobile River over the I-10 tunnel. It is also possible that a local repair shipyard or boatyard might have berthing space available, particularly while other longer term arrangements are made. Ferry Service Operators There are a number of commercial passenger ferryboat operators with credentials, experience, and interest in operating ferry services. The study identified nine potential companies, who were then invited to submit an expression of interest in the proposed service. Four of the nine companies submitted statements of interest and qualifications. Environmental Impacts Environmental sensitivity is a national, state, and local priority, and public services should reflect those goals. Protecting the environment has been integrated into recommendations for ferry service development, implementation, and daily operations. The study considered potential environmental impacts from ferry operations and terminal activities. Preventing potential spills of fuel, lube oil, and other wastes from ferryboats will need to be a continuous part of operations precautions. Wake wash can impact beach property, boats, and structures; therefore, mitigation of wake wash should be part of the ferryboat design and operational procedures. In addition, well-designed mufflers installed during ferryboat construction will greatly assist in noise suppression. A formal review of potential environmental impacts will be needed during the implementation phase for the new service. Economic Analysis Capital and operating costs of new service are an important part of a feasibility study. The cost of a ferryboat will vary with the technology, passenger capacity, and speed. Costs range from $300,000 for a monohull aluminum Zodiac with a 24-passenger capacity and 25 knots operating speed to $3,900,000 for an aluminum-hulled catamaran that carries 149 passengers and travels at 33 knots. The recommended ferryboat is a 75-passenger catamaran with an estimated cost of $2,200,000.

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The cost of building new terminals or modifying an existing terminal will also vary widely. The initial service will require three terminals: at Mobile Landing, Fairhopes Long Pier and in Gulf Shores on the south side of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway just east of the SR 59 Bridge. The Mobile Landing ferry terminal will be constructed as part of another project. The cost for constructing the terminals is estimated to be $497,000 for Fairhope and $374,000 for Gulf Shores. The total capital cost for the Fairhope and Gulf Shores terminals during the initial phase is estimated to total $871,000. While not required to operate the initial Mobile-Fairhope service, placement of the third terminal in Gulf Shores would allow limited service to be initiated with the Mobile-Fairhope service. Development of the limited Gulf Shores and Point Clear services would be contingent on fleet capacity, availability of operating service hours, market demand, and funding. Estimated capital costs for terminals, ferryboats, and a transit vehicle are summarized in Table ES.1. Table ES.1 Estimated Capital Costs for Initial Mobile-Fairhope Ferry Service Category Terminal, Ferryboat, and Vehicle Cost Less 80% Federal Grants Other Sources Three-boat Fleet Two-boat Fleet $7,600,000 $6,100,000 $1,500,000 $5,400,000 $4,300,000 $1,100,000

Operating costs include labor, ferryboat and terminal crews, and onshore support. Staffing of the ferry operations will depend on the size of the ferryboats used for service and U.S. Coast Guard requirements. Fuel and lube oil, insurance, and maintenance costs are also part of the operating expenses. Estimated operating costs vary depending on the type of craft used for service and range from $56.10 to $241.00 per hour. Hourly operating costs for catamaran vessels vary from $67.00 for 34-passenger capacity to $241.00 for 149-passenger capacity. The recommended ferryboat has an operating cost of $150.00 per hour. As shown in Table ES.2, preliminary analysis indicated that an annual operating deficit of about $505,000 would occur for the Mobile-Fairhope service operated with three ferryboats. Revenue, based on $4.50 to $6.00 one-way fares, would be about $1.0 million while operating expenses would be $1.5 million. Table ES.2 Estimated Annual Operating Statement for Initial Mobile-Fairhope Ferry Service Category Income Operating Expenses Operating Deficit
Source: IBJ Associates

Three-boat Fleet $995,000 $1,500,000 ($505,000)

Two-boat Fleet $767,000 $1,234,000 ($467,000)

The Passenger Ferry Concept and Implementation Plan presents additional detail regarding opportunities for expanding revenues and reducing deficits during initial operating years.

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Tailored service operating plans, focused marketing outreach activities, and public-private partnerships are elements to be considered. Potential Funding Sources A number of potential funding sources that could be used in combination with ferry system revenues and local and state funds to finance capital and operating costs were considered. The most commonly used sources for ferry capital and operations are the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. There are also commercial loans, federal loan guarantees, and the U.S. Maritime Administrations Federal Ship Financing Program (Title XI), which guarantees private sector debt financing for U.S. built ferries. In Alabama, local governments use property, gasoline, sales, and other taxes to supplement transportation expenses. Municipal governments may adopt local option sales taxes by ordinance, and counties must obtain legislative authorization for adoption of a sales tax. As new transit services such as ferry routes are implemented, a source of dedicated local funds must be established. A potential source would be to provide a dedicated funding source through an increase in the lodgings tax in the City of Mobile and Baldwin County or other ferry terminal cities. A one percent increase in the City of Mobiles lodging tax would generate approximately $500,000 per year. A one-half percent increase in Baldwin Countys lodging tax could generate nearly $1,000,000 per year. If it is more desirable to use property tax revenues, the current tax rate impact of sample $100,000 contributions for each jurisdiction affected calculates to tax rate increases from 7.0 to 7.069 mills for the City of Mobile, 16.0 to 16.032 mills for Mobile County, 15.0 to 15.626 mills for the City of Fairhope, and 5.0 to 5.307 mills for the City of Gulf Shores. Recommended Ferry Services

Initiate daily ferry service between Mobile and Fairhope, primarily to carry Baldwin County residents who commute to work in Mobile. On weekdays, sailings every 30 minutes are recommended during peak commuter hours. Less frequent sailings would be provided at other hours. Limited service would also be initiated between Mobile, Gulf Shores, and Point Clear using excess ferryboat capacity during off-peak hours, on weekends, and during the summer months. If sufficient demand develops, one or more additional ferryboats could be added to the fleet to provide service on these routes. Initially construct three passenger ferry terminals, one at Mobile Landing adjacent to the cruise ship berth, and the other two in Baldwin County at Fairhopes Long Pier and in Gulf Shores on the south side of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway adjacent to the SR 59 Bridge. The Gulf Shores terminal would allow limited service to be initiated between Mobile and Gulf Shores using excess ferryboat capacity during off-peak hours, on weekends, and during the summer months. If sufficient demand develops, one or more additional ferryboats could be added to the fleet to provide limited service on this route and to an existing facility in Point Clear.

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Provide parking facilities at or near the terminals and then implement intermodal connections with public or private bus or van services. Procure three high-speed (40-knot) catamaran ferryboats to initiate scheduled service between Mobile and Fairhope. The ferryboats should have the following approximate capacity and characteristics: 75-passenger capacity, draft of less than five feet, and a low-wake hull. Service could be initiated with chartered or used ferryboats if boats with acceptable features were available. While service between Mobile and Fairhope could be initiated with two ferryboats, only limited capacity would be available to operate selected trips to Gulf Shores/Point Clear and to test other routes. Limitations on ferryboat wakes were examined during the study. It was determined that ferryboats could be designed that would not likely exceed the wake characteristics of boats and ships currently operating in Mobile Bay. However, realizing that a low-wake boat design will be important for operations in the Bay, such a design will also need to be carefully balanced with operating speed capability. Develop an intergovernmental arrangement such as a regional coordination council to coordinate the new service and provide a financial mechanism to obtain federal and other funding and to cover operating deficits with local subsidies. Finalize fare structure and local option revenue sources that will effectively fund the system. Contract for an experienced passenger ferryboat operator to manage, operate, and maintain the ferry service. Utilize recommended mitigation techniques to address potential environmental impacts. Give consideration to phased development of additional terminals at Point Clear, Fowl River, and Daphne after future passenger traffic analyses and trial runs indicate that they are justified.

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1 Introduction
Purpose This summary report documents the results of a study to assess how best to re-establish passenger ferry services on Mobile Bay. The study included determining what type of ferry service would be appropriate for operation on Mobile Bay and a plan and schedule for implementation. Ferry operating parameters, potential terminals and berthing, routing, cost, funding, and environmental considerations were covered and impacts weighed. Preliminary ridership estimates were developed using technical tools and qualitative methods. The study relied on several surveys to determine public sentiment and openness to using ferry transportation. This information, combined with transit experience and transportation demand model results, provided the information needed to report on ferry service operations and implementation. Background Ferry service is not new to Mobile Bay. Prior to the June 1927 opening of the Cochrane Bridge or causeway (US Highways 31, 90, and 98), travel across Mobile Bay between locations in Mobile and Baldwin Counties was primarily provided by boat. Regular ferry or bay boat routes were operated between Mobile and many small communities along the eastern shore. In addition, boats provided excursion trips on the Bay. Dating from the earliest days of the City, the Bay boats transported freight, passengers, and automobiles and were an important service for many years. Evaluating passenger ferry services is one part of a larger regional transportation planning vision for the Mobile area. The City of Mobile is in the process of establishing a regionally connected, multimodal transportation system to implement that vision. The redevelopment of the historic GM&O Center was recently completed. The new Maritime Center is under construction, and a cruise ship terminal is now in development adjacent to the Maritime Center. Metro Transit services have recently been revised and streamlined, and the Moda! downtown circulator service will be extended to serve the Maritime Center. The Baldwin Rural Area Transportation System (BRATS) currently operates demand response service in Baldwin County and continues to review new service opportunities. Report Organization This report is organized into seven sections plus appendices. Section 1 provides a generalized overview of the studys background and activities. Section 2 summarizes the development and evaluation of ferry alternatives, including the identification of ridership, routes, and operational characteristics. Section 3 discusses ferry characteristics most appropriate for Mobile Bay service, including navigational constraints, ferryboat characteristics, and regulatory considerations. Section 4 describes the evaluation of terminal sites and berthing considerations. Section 5 summarizes the environmental considerations for ferry and terminal operations. Section 6 presents an economic analysis, including operating and capital costs of establishing passenger ferry services. The report concludes in Section 7 with recommendations and phasing for establishing ferry services on Mobile Bay.

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2 Development and Evaluation of Alternatives


Essential to determining the feasibility of ferry operations are identification of: Who will ride the ferry? How many people will ride the ferry? Where is the greatest demand for ferry services? Which routes have the most potential for success? Who will operate the ferry?

Ridership Market Mobile Bay passenger ferry service is envisioned as an integral and economically sustainable component of the areas transportation system. A ferry service based on commuter demand, but which also provides services that attract non-commuters, was considered to offer the greatest potential. Because the population of Baldwin County is increasing even more rapidly than that of Mobile County, the demand for commuter transportation is likely to increase between these areas. The study also addressed the characteristics and connectivity of overland and waterborne transport. Five surveys were conducted during the study to help understand travel patterns and trip characteristics in the study area. The surveys targeted different segments of Mobile area travelers to gain the broadest understanding of area travel. The roadside survey was conducted in the I-10 corridor at four Baldwin County interchange locations. A total of 7,271 postcards were distributed at US 31, US 98, SR 181, and SR 59; 26 percent of the surveys were returned. The employee and employer surveys were conducted in downtown Mobile and along the airport corridor. A total of 687 employee surveys were returned, and 14 employers completed surveys on behalf of their employees. The visitor survey used an on-site intercept form at visitor center locations in Fairhope, Fort Conde, Grand Bay, Adams Mark, Gulf Shores, Baldwin County, and Orange Beach, as well as at Battleship Park. Surveys were received from 80 visitors. The airport survey was conducted through interviews, and 216 surveys were completed. Two questions were included on each of the surveys to gauge interest in new ferry and transit services in the Mobile area. One question asked about interest in using a ferry service between downtown Mobile and other eastern shore Mobile Bay locations. The second asked about interest in using rapid transit service between downtown Mobile and the Regional Airport. Responses varied depending on the target group, but in both instances, visitors had the most positive response to using either a ferry service or rapid transit service. It is important to note that the surveys did not provide any details about transit or ferry service operations, such as cost, frequency, travel times, or routing, which would influence willingness to use such services. Table 2.1 summarizes the responses from all travel surveys conducted. Visitors expressed the greatest interest, with 36 percent of respondents indicating an interest in using a ferry. Of the largest survey groups (the roadside and employee surveys), 23 percent indicated an interest in using ferry services. While only 14 percent of employers responded favorably, they had the greatest maybe response at 79 percent. Respondents surveyed at the airport expressed the

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least interest in ferry services, with 63 percent indicating they were not interested or did not have a need for ferry services across Mobile Bay. Table 2.1 Survey Summary Interest in Ferry Service If a passenger ferry service was available between Mobile and eastern shore or other Mobile Bay destinations, would you have an interest or need in using it?
Survey Roadside Employee Airport Visitor Employer Number of Respondents 1,855 672 191 63 14 Percent Response Yes 23% 23% 25% 36% 14% Maybe 42% 34% 12% 33% 79% No 35% 43% 63% 30% 7%

Four distinct groups of potential Mobile Bay ferry riders were identified: Commuters who live in Baldwin County and work in Mobile County Commuters who live in Mobile County and work in Baldwin County (reverse commute) Local residents dependent on or desiring to use public transportation for non-commuter trips such as shopping, medical appointments, school, leisure, or recreational trips Visitors to the area seeking either cross-Bay transportation or on-the-water sightseeing opportunities

Commuters and reverse commuters have the potential to create an early demand for ridership because they already travel between Baldwin and Mobile Counties and, in most cases, make ten one-way trips between their residence and workplace per week. For the majority of commuters, travel would take place on weekdays. In the case of reverse commuters traveling to work in the Gulf Shores area, ridership demand is likely to be highest on weekends and during the summer months. It is likely that non-commuter ridership demand will be heavier on weekends and during nonpeak hours because of the trip purpose. The difference in demand patterns between commuters and non-commuters will provide opportunities to utilize boats for different uses during different times of the day, on different days of the week (weekdays versus weekends), and during different seasons. Once services are established, identifying the key ridership demand factors underlying different types of service will provide information that can be used to both estimate potential ridership for new or expanded services and attract additional riders. Ridership Estimation and Forecasts The estimated ridership for initial ferry service across Mobile Bay is 600 one-way trips per weekday. This estimation was derived from an off-model calculation using area data and survey results. Important factors in determining ridership included Mobile-Baldwin County

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commuter characteristics and comparable commuter ferry service characteristics elsewhere in the United States. This latest projection tracks with work done in 2001 for the Mobile Downtown Transportation Plan, which projected 540 daily one-way trips using a different methodology. The Mobile travel demand model was expanded to include portions of Baldwin County and ferry service was added as a modal alternative. Model calibration for ferry services will require the development of information about the distribution of trip origins and destinations. After ferry service becomes operational, information on key demand factors can be entered into the model to improve its ability to project future ferry ridership demand. Ridership growth occurring after initial service has started is expected to occur through increased demand and the addition of ferry services on other routes. As ridership demand steadily increases, it might be possible to obtain new, larger boats to accommodate demand on the initial route. The older boats then could be used to inaugurate service on other routes. Potential Ferry Routes An important consideration in establishing ferry service is finding viable routes. First and foremost, the key factor determining the viability of a route is ridership demand. Ridership demand, in turn, is largely dependent on how well a ferry service competes with alternative available forms of transportation. In addition, one of the most important factors for commuters is travel time. In the case of Mobile Bays potential ferry routes, private automobiles currently provide the primary competing form of transportation. Consequently, any Mobile Bay ferry service will have to be competitive with automobiles costs and transit times to attract riders. To be competitive, a ferry does not necessarily have to provide faster or less expensive service because riders may be willing to pay a premium, measured in time and cost, to ride the ferry. Therefore, a comparison of travel times for trips over land versus trips on the Bay was conducted for the key ferry routes. A number of potential ferry routes, displayed in Figure 2.1, were tested for travel times between locations on the eastern and western shores of Mobile Bay. For each potential route, the total voyage time (travel time) was calculated at different operating speeds for each of the different ferryboats and the hovercraft. Calculating total voyage time includes four elements: Time at dock, including stand-by and embarking/disembarking passengers Maneuvering in port, docking, and undocking Travel through restricted speed areas (assumed to be at 10 knots) Travel through unrestricted areas

The voyage times shown in Table 2.2 for the 75-passenger ferry were based on an operating speed in unrestricted areas of 40 knots and a speed in restricted areas of 10 knots. Total ferry voyage time between Mobile Landing and Fairhopes Long Pier was approximately 36 minutes. Voyage times at different operating speeds are shown in Figure 2.2.

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Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report Figure 2.1 Potential Passenger Ferry Routes

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Table 2.2 Mileages and Voyage Durations for Selected One-way Voyages on Mobile Bay
Mobile Bay Locations Mobile-Daphne Mobile-Fairhope Mobile-Point Clear Mobile-Gulf Shores Fowl River-Point Clear Fowl River-Gulf Shores Mileages (nautical miles)
Operating Speed Restricted Speed Total Voyage

Voyage Duration (minutes)


Operating Speed* Restricted Speed* Port Time** Total Voyage

10.0 10.7 12.0 28.2 9.5 21.4

2.3 2.1 2.5 6.0 1.7 5.2

12.3 12.8 14.5 34.2 11.2 26.6

15.0 16.1 18.0 42.3 14.3 32.1

13.8 12.6 15.0 36.0 10.2 32.1

7.0 7.0 7.0 7.0 6.0 6.0

35.8 35.7 40.0 85.3 30.5 69.3

Source: IBJ Associates * Note: Times calculated using operating and restricted speeds of 40-knots and 10-knots, respectively. ** Note: Port time includes maneuvering, docking, transfer of passengers, ticket collection, and inspection.

Figure 2.2 One-way Voyage Time (minutes)* for Mobile-Fairhope (Long Pier) Route
60 58 55 53 50 50 47 Minutes 45 44 42 40 40 39 37 35 36 35 34

33

32

32

30

31

30

30

25 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50

Speed (knots)

Source: IBJ Associates * Note: Assumed speed of 10 knots in restricted areas and 7.0 minutes of port time per voyage.

As a baseline, Table 2.3 shows estimated automobile mileages, travel times, and average travel speeds between selected eastern and western shore locations on Mobile Bay that most represent current commuter patterns, reverse commuter, visitor or local residents recreational patterns. Travel times for land travel range from approximately 19 minutes between Mobile and

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Daphne to approximately 110 minutes between Fowl River (Mon Louis) and Gulf Shores for weekday, off-peak travel. Although many commuters may travel to other Mobile County locations, workers with jobs in the downtown area relatively close to the Mobile Landing ferry terminal will find a Mobile Bay ferry service particularly attractive. Table 2.3 Estimated Automobile Travel Times Between Selected Locations
Between Mobile Mobile Mobile Mobile Fowl River Daphne Fairhope (Long Pier) Point Clear Gulf Shores Point Clear Miles 13.4 18.9 24.3 48.6 45.3 Average Speed* (mph) 42 40 39 38 39 Travel Time (minutes) 19.1 28.4 37.4 76.7 69.7

Fowl River Gulf Shores 69.5 38 109.8 Source: IBJ Associates * Note: The average speeds were calculated for weekday trips at non-commuter hours in December 2003 and February 2004. Travel during peak periods with congestion would increase travel times.

Since automobile drivers will compare road travel times to ferry trip times, a comparison of automobile trip times and ferry voyage times for travel between selected Mobile Bay locations is shown in Table 2.4. Ferry speeds in restricted areas were assumed to be limited to 10 knots. The two routes which appear to be most attractive for commuter ridership are, Mobile-Fairhope (Long Pier) and Mobile-Point Clear. Ferryboats could compete very well with automobiles on the two Fowl River routes but it is not known if enough demand would exist to justify operating services. Of the two commuter routes, the Mobile-Fairhope route was selected for a number of reasons as the best route on which to initiate service. The Mobile-Fairhope is a shorter route and would have shorter travel times at any given operating speed, thus allowing the maintenance of slightly more attractive schedules during peak hours. Table 2.4 Comparison of Automobile Trip Times and Ferry Voyage Times Between Selected Mobile Bay Locations
Mobile Bay Locations Auto Trip Minutes Mobile-Daphne Mobile-Fairhope Mobile-Point Clear Mobile-Gulf Shores Fowl River-Point Clear Fowl River-Gulf Shores Source: IBJ Associates 19.1 28.4 37.4 76.7 69.7 109.8 Ferry Voyage Minutes 35.8 35.7 40.0 85.3 30.5 69.3 Ferry Time Advantage or (Disadvantage) Minutes (16.7) (7.3) (2.6) (8.6) 39.2 40.5 Percent -87.4 -25.7 -7.0 -11.2 56.2 36.9

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As indicated, automobiles have a travel time advantage on the four routes that call at Mobile Landing. However, on three of those routes, Fairhope, Point Clear, and Gulf Shores, the automobiles trip time advantage is less than 10 minutes. For such a small differential, riders may select the ferry services because they perceive it to be more relaxing and reliable that automobile travel. On the two routes that include Fowl River--Point Clear and Gulf Shores--the ferryboats have a travel time advantage of approximately 40 minutes. There are three caveats concerning relative travel times between ferryboat and automobile travel. First, the ferry travel times do not include the time required to travel between the trip origin and the ferry terminal and between the other ferry terminal and the trip destination. Second, as indicated previously, the overland travel times herein do not consider the impact of delays caused by heavy traffic, accidents, or road construction. Third, travel time is only one factor influencing a commuters choice of mode. It is, however, an important indicator of how competitive a ferry service would be with other commute choices. In addition to the quantitative review indicating ferry routes that could be competitive with automobile travel, local support and input is another important consideration. Through interviews with local political and civic leaders in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, it was found there was strong support for restoring ferry services to Mobile Bay. In addition, municipal and county officials were very helpful in providing terminal site information for consideration in this study. Initially, the study team envisioned Mobile Landing as being the sole ferry terminal on the western shore of Mobile Bay. However, as a result of discussions with interested citizens during public meetings, a terminal was added at Fowl River in Mon Louis. Citizens residing on the west side of the Bay indicated that they would be interested in ferry service as an alternative to driving to work or for recreation from the western shore to Point Clear and, particularly, to Gulf Shores. Potential demand could be tested by adding voyages on weekends or during noncommuting times on weekdays. The potential Mobile Bay passenger ferry routes displayed in Figure 2.1 are listed in the likely order in which services would be implemented. It is possible, however, that a limited number of voyages would be made on various routes in order to test operational factors and better gauge demand. Locations for initial limited service would include Gulf Shores and Point Clear. Potential Ferry Service Operators A specific ferry operator has not yet been identified, nor has it been determined as to whether the venture would be publicly or privately operated. In order to aid decision-making, existing private operators were contacted to determine if there was interest in operating a Mobile Bay ferry service and to identify the type of operations currently managed. The following companies expressed an initial interest in contracting with a public agency to operate one or more new ferry services on Mobile Bay: Boston Harbor Cruises Cotton Blossom Crabcakes, LLC

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Hornblower Marine Island Cruises Sayville Ferry Service, Inc Marine Expediters Mobile Bay Ferry River Street Riverboat

After providing these operators with more background information about the potential ferryboats, routes, and terminals being considered, they were invited to submit a written Expression of Interest to operate a potential new passenger ferry service on Mobile Bay. A copy of the Expression of Interest request is included in Appendix A. Four operators (Boston Harbor Cruises, Hornblower Marine Services, Sayville Ferry Services, and Mobile Bay Ferry) submitted Expressions of Interest, accompanied by a statement of qualifications about their firms experience, management, staffing, operations, and financial stability. If it is decided to hire a private firm to operate the ferry service, the next step would be to issue a Request for Proposal for operating the ferry service.

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3 Ferryboat Characteristics
The study considered which ferryboat characteristics would best meet operating conditions for Mobile Bay passenger ferry service. The evaluation specifically considered navigational constraints, passenger load, and regulatory requirements for ferry operations. Navigational Constraints Existing navigational constraints were reviewed to determine if they would significantly limit operations of a Mobile Bay ferry service. The following constraints were considered: Water depth is relatively shallow in many areas of Mobile Bay. For that reason, boats with a maximum draft of five feet are recommended because they will have the greatest geographic operating flexibility. For some ferry terminal locations, limited dredging may be required. Water depth was not considered to be a major problem. Limitations on ferryboat wakes were examined during the study. It was determined that ferryboats could be designed that would not likely exceed the wake characteristics of boats and ships currently operating in Mobile Bay. However, realizing that a low-wake boat design will be important for operations in the Bay, such a design will also need to be carefully balanced with operating speed capability. Restricted speed areas were incorporated into the analyses and are not considered to be detrimental. Even if restricted speed areas did not exist, safety considerations would dictate that speeds be reduced to safe levels in congested areas. The base case assumed that ferries would operate at a maximum speed of 10 knots in restricted areas. The two restricted areas that have the greatest impact on ferry voyage times are the main ship channel south of Mobile Landing and the section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIW) between Mobile Bay and the SR 59 Bridge. Coastal erosion could be a problem in some areas along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Consequently, ferries will be designed and routes planned to ensure that ferries do not contribute to such erosion. Weather-related delays are not expected to be a problem. Historical weather information indicated that problems caused by reduced visibility (e.g., fog), high waves, or heavy precipitation which would be serious enough to delay or disrupt operations are likely to be encountered only a few days during an average year. Furthermore, it may be possible to provide alternative overland transportation (e.g., buses) on days that ferry service is delayed or suspended.

Ferryboat Types Five different ferryboatsone hovercraft, one monohull, and three catamaranswere evaluated for use in Mobile Bay. Capacities ranged from 20 passengers on the hovercraft to 149 passengers on the largest catamaran. Operating speeds ranged from 25 knots on the monohull ferry to 40 knots on the 75-passenger catamaran ferry. Many other ferryboat designs are

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available that offer different combinations of size, speed, and passenger capacity. It could be cost-effective to design a boat that has the combination of features and characteristics that most closely fit the requirements for operating unique services on Mobile Bay. In addition to catamaran hulls, some fast monohull designs and a hovercraft were considered. At the current time, no hovercraft are being built in the United States and foreign-built boats are excluded from domestic routes by the Jones Act. The monohull designs typically have substantially lower capital costs than catamarans, but have higher wakes, require more power to achieve the same speed, and usually have deeper draft for a given passenger capacity. The vessel that would best meet operating conditions and passenger load requirements for Mobile Bay operations is a catamaran. Catamaran hulls currently comprise the majority of faster operating ferry designs. Aluminum-hulled catamarans have a number of favorable characteristics that include: Separate hulls, wide beam, and good stability for safety Lightweight and low maintenance aluminum hulls and superstructure High speed operations up to 50 knots Low wake designs

Existing ferryboats could be used to establish ferry services on Mobile Bay. However, it might not be possible to find used boats with the desired combination of features (size, passenger capacity, wake characteristics, speed, and operating costs). If two or three used ferryboats were available for charter at an acceptable cost for a 12 to 24-month period, and if those boats could be operated effectively on Mobile Bay, there is no reason that service could not be initiated with used boats. If used boats are not available, it might be possible to find an existing design that incorporates the features desired for ferryboats to be operated on Mobile Bay. If existing boats cannot be found with the desired combination of features, new boats can be designed and built to the particular specifications desired for operation on Mobile Bay. Developing a new design generally includes higher costs in two areas. First, the cost of developing the design usually will be higher than that of using an existing design. Second, the cost of constructing a boat from a new design may be higher because shipyard workers will not be familiar with the design (at a low point on the learning curve) and more change orders are likely to be required as the design evolves during construction. If a shipyard has experience building a boat of a particular design, the time and cost of construction may be reduced. However, if existing designs cannot provide the desired combination of performance, attributes, and features, a boat can be designed to better match those objectives. If an existing design is used, the shipyard will generally easily handle options in the design and construction phases. Nevertheless, using the services of a consulting naval architect can help ensure quality control during certain stages of the design and construction process. If a new design is being developed, the naval architect will be involved throughout the process. Outfitting the vessel, whether an existing or new design, usually requires frequent input from the owner or operator. The owner or operator will also take active control of hiring, training, and managing crews.

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Regulatory Requirements Operating a Mobile Bay ferry is subject to federal, state and local regulatory requirements established and enforced by multiple public agencies. For ferryboats, the primary regulating federal agencies include the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Communications Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. For ferry terminals, regulators are mostly from state and local agencies, such as the state coastal zone management agency, state environmental agency, state port authority, local municipalities, and public land-owning agency. Federal Regulation The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is the principal regulator of ferry services. It is responsible for establishing and enforcing regulations for safety, environmental protection, and security. The USCG has oversight concerning passenger vessel design, materials used, construction, outfitting, captains licensing, required crew size, training standards, inspections, and vessel safety certification. Other federal agencies have responsibilities involving communications equipment and use, engine emission standards, handicapped access, labor practices, and occupational safety ashore. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorizes and certifies onboard radio equipment and licenses crew members using that equipment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes engine emission standards required for engines in new vessels. The Department of Justice enforces onboard and terminal construction requirements and promulgates guidelines now being determined by the U.S. Access Board for implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Labor establishes and enforces rules on overtime and other labor practices. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for standards and enforcement of safety and health requirements for shoreside personnel, while the U.S. Coast Guard maintains that jurisdiction for vessel personnel and passengers. State and Local Agency Regulation Usually, a state public utility commission or a regional or local consumer oriented agency regulates fares and tariffs of public transportation services. A state coastal zone management agency or environmental agency regulates air, water, land, noise, and other ecological impacts resulting from construction on and use of shoreline property. The state port authority and local jurisdictions can establish speed limits over selected waters. Local municipalities regulate and enforce land use laws, zoning restrictions, building permits, building codes, and fire codes. Public land owning agencies have authority over public lands that can be used for terminal sites.

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Principal Regulatory Considerations The U.S. Coast Guard has established regulatory standards for vessel classes with different sizes and passenger carrying capacities based upon expected safety risks encountered. Vessels under 100 Gross Registered Tons (GRT) with carrying capacity up to 150 passengers are classed for the rules of 46 CFR Subchapter T and have the least restrictive requirements. Vessels under 100 GRT but carrying more than 150 passengers are classed for the rules of 46 CFR Subchapter K and have additional requirements. Vessels larger than 100 GRT would probably draw too much water to operate outside the main channel in Mobile Bay. The ferries recommended for initial construction in this report will be classed under the rules contained in Subchapter T.

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Berthing and Terminal Characteristics

Site Selection Criteria for Potential Terminal Sites Based on interviews with local officials and on-site inspections, 13 waterfront sites were selected for evaluation as candidate ferry terminal locations. Ten are located on Mobile Bays eastern shore in Baldwin County; three are located on the western shore in southeast Mobile County. The Mobile Landing location near Cooper Park in Mobile was not included in this analysis since that terminal was pre-selected as a key terminal for any potential ferry service to be operated in Mobile Bay. Nineteen criteria grouped into five topic areas were developed and used to assess the feasibility of each potential site. The relative weightings of importance for each criterion were then assigned as maximum scores. The scores for all criteria at each of the 13 sites were determined from site visits and examinations, interviews with local officials and interested parties, measurements taken or estimated, and previous study team experience at other locations. The criteria were grouped within five topic areas as follows: Potential Ridership Expected use by commuters to Mobile, reverse commuters from Mobile into Baldwin County, and other users such as shoppers, tourists, and other travelers. Waterside Access Water depths alongside the existing or potential pier and in the access channel to deeper water; ease of navigation; usefulness of existing pier, dolphins, pilings, floats, and ramps; current channel depth maintenance by public or private funds; sheltered position; and low construction cost. Upland Access Convenient parking area, proximity to population centers, covered waiting area, and usefulness of existing building. Multimodal Access Availability of local bus, van, or jitney service to jobs and off-site parking lots, useful road access at terminal, and ease of pedestrian access to destinations and parking. Other Considerations Minimal environmental protection issues, support from abutting property owners, and absence of conflicts with property users.

Table 4.1 summarizes the evaluation for each of the candidate terminal sites. The top five potential sites are highlighted.

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Table 4.1 Potential Ferry Terminal Site Evaluation


Town and Site Maximum Score
Daphne May Day Park Potential Ridership Commuters Reverse commuters Other users Subtotal Potential Ridership Waterside Access Adequate water depth Ease of navigation Usable pier or wharf Maintained channel Sheltered berthing Construction cost Subtotal, Waterside Access Upland Access Convenient parking area Proximity to pop. centers Covered waiting area Existing, usable building Subtotal, Upland Access Multimodal Access Bus/van/jitney available Road access Pedestrian access Subtotal, Multimodal Access Other Considerations Min. environmental impact Abutters' support Absence of use conflicts Subtotal, Other Considerations Total Score 5 5 5 15 130 0 0 0 0 44 5 5 2 12 69 2 0 2 4 100 5 5 5 15 90 5 5 5 15 95 5 5 5 15 86 5 5 5 15 83 5 0 0 5 68 0 0 0 0 32 5 0 5 10 57 0 0 0 0 37 3 5 5 13 78 5 5 5 15 82 5 5 5 15 0 5 5 10 0 3 2 5 2 5 3 10 0 5 0 5 2 5 0 7 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 2 7 0 5 2 7 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 15 5 5 5 30 0 0 0 0 0 10 0 5 5 20 10 5 5 5 25 5 0 0 0 5 5 0 0 0 5 10 0 0 0 10 15 2 5 5 27 5 0 2 2 9 0 2 0 0 2 15 0 0 2 17 5 0 3 3 11 10 0 0 0 10 10 0 0 0 10 15 5 5 5 5 5 40 0 5 5 0 0 4 14 5 3 0 0 0 4 12 15 5 5 2 0 4 31 15 5 5 2 5 3 35 15 3 5 5 5 5 38 15 3 5 5 5 3 36 5 5 2 0 0 4 16 10 3 3 5 5 3 29 0 5 0 0 0 3 8 0 5 0 0 0 3 8 0 0 3 0 5 3 11 15 3 5 5 5 2 35 15 5 5 5 5 2 37 10 10 10 30 10 5 5 20 10 5 5 20 10 10 10 30 10 10 10 30 10 10 10 30 5 10 5 20 10 5 5 20 10 5 5 20 5 5 5 15 5 5 5 15 5 5 0 10 5 5 5 15 5 5 5 15 Daphne Lake Forest Yacht Club Fairhope Municipal (Long) Pier Point Clear Gulf Shores G.I.W.W. at SR 59 Bridge Mon Louis Fowl River at SR 193 Bridge Daphne Bayfront Park Fairhope Sea Cliff at Fly Creek Fairhope Pier Street Boat Ramp Fairhope Laural Ave. at American Legion Magnolia Springs Weeks Bay at SR 98 Bridge Hollingers Island Dog River at SR 163 Bridge Theodore Industrial Canal at SR 193 Bridge

Ranking Factors

Grand Hotel

Top 5 Potential Terminal Sites

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Terminal Site Considerations Out of the 13 initial site locations, five were identified for additional field evaluation. The five highest scoring sites (100 to 83 of 130 possible) are described in the following paragraphs in terms of their most critical characteristics and considerations. Figures 4.1 through 4.5 show conceptual layouts, inventory and evaluation, and estimated development cost for each site. Additional terminal site evaluation information is included in Appendix B. Municipal (Long) Pier in Fairhope (100) In city-owned park near business and tourism center Limited parking at the foot of the pier and an uphill walk to town Use of some existing spaces during selected time periods and potential development of the area south of the park for low impact ferry parking in conjunction with City of Fairhope Potential off-site parking with shuttle service is a consideration for additional parking Marina and restaurant on pier would complement ferry terminal activities Dredging permit exists but additional work may be needed Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at the SR 59 Bridge in Gulf Shores (95) Publicly owned site under highway bridge Deep water on federally maintained channel Parking availability and shuttle/van/jitney service will be needed Seasonal employment opportunities available for reverse commuters Grand Hotel in Point Clear (90) Inlet is privately dredged and has a breakwater and marina Limited parking on-site, although hotel is planning a new parking structure Plans for waterfront housing may interfere with location for landing inside breakwater Alternative position for ferry landing is outside and north of the breakwater Landing is a short, level walk to hotel and parking Fowl River at the SR 193 Bridge in Mon Louis (Mobile County) (86) Publicly owned site is adjacent to SR 193 Bridge Accessible for vehicles Space for limited parking at the site Off-site land for parking may be needed Remote area in rural quadrant of Mobile County Possible source of reverse commute ridership Bayfront Park in Daphne (83) Location consists of three contiguous city-owned undeveloped properties Extensive space available for parking Meeting hall and pier at roads end accessible from Main Street Pier will require additional construction and dredging alongside North-south dredging permit exists but may need to bring channel closer ashore Meeting hall is elevated for covered waiting space outside and office inside Site close to Bayway and I-10 ramps Limited foot traffic to local activities

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Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report Figure 4.1 Proposed Ferry Terminal - Fairhope

Item Existing Structures and Facilities

Inventory/Evaluation This site contains a fully functional municipal pier complete with restrooms, restaurant, marina, lighting, water, sewer, and other amenities. The pier has concrete decking supported with PPC piles. The pier is 1,425 feet long by 16 feet wide resting about 10 feet above the water. The pier extends far enough into the bay such that minimal dredging will be required. This facility has available power and lighting systems for the ferry service. The new parking area will have area lighting. The site has adequate water and sewer systems in place for use by the public. This facility has fire protection as required by code. This site is easily accessible from Alt. US-98 and the Fairhope area via Beach Road and Fairhope Avenue. Weekday ferry commuter parking may be available in existing lot. Parking expansion possible through low impact methods in coordination with the City of Fairhope. $497,000

Marine Work Power and Lighting Systems

Water and Sewer Systems Fire Protection Access Roadways and Parking Areas

Estimated Site Cost July 2004

Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report Figure 4.2 Proposed Ferry Terminal - Gulf Shores

Item Existing Structures and Facilities

Inventory/Evaluation This site is maintained by the City of Gulf Shoes and has a boat ramp, pier, parking and lighting. All facilities are relatively new and in good condition. This site is located directly under the SR-59 Bridge over the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway. No marine work will be required since this site is on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. This site has power available as well as area lighting. The lighting will be improved as part of the ferry service program. The site has no water and sewer services present, but these will be added as part of the ferry improvements. No present fire protection exists but a city water main is nearby. This site is easily accessible from SR-59 and the Gulf Shores area via East 24th Avenue that runs adjacent to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Parking is adequate, but new parking will be added at a site under the bridge and across East 24th Avenue. $373,948

Marine Work Power and Lighting Systems

Water and Sewer Systems Fire Protection Access Roadways and Parking Areas

Estimated Site Cost July 2004

Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report Figure 4.3 Proposed Ferry Terminal - Point Clear

Item Existing Structures and Facilities

Inventory/Evaluation This site contains an operational servicing the local area and the Grand Hotel. The Grand Hotel is adjacent to this site and is an upscale vacation destination for many visitors. Additionally, many companies and government agencies use this facility for conferences and seminars. The marina has available utilities and is protected by a seawall. Due to the marina, minimal dredging will be required. This facility has available power and lighting systems for the ferry service. The new parking area across Alt. US-98 will have area lighting. The site has adequate water and sewer systems in place for use by the public. This facility has fire protection as required by code. This site is easily accessible from Alt. US-98. Parking is minimal and will be expanded for the new ferry service. $743,003

Marine Work Power and Lighting Systems

Water and Sewer Systems Fire Protection Access Roadways and Parking Areas Estimated Site Cost

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Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report Figure 4.4 Proposed Ferry Terminal - Fowl River

Item Existing Structures and Facilities Marine Work Power and Lighting Systems

Inventory/Evaluation This site contains no structures or facilities. No marine work will be required since this site is on the Fowl River. This site has no power or lighting available. However, an electrical transmission line runs along the western ROW. New electrical service to the ferry site will be provided. The site has no water and sewer services present, but these will be added as part of the ferry improvements. No present fire protection exists. This site is easily accessible from SR-193 at the southern end of the Fowl River Bridge. A new parking area will be constructed for the ferry service. Property adjacent to the existing ROW will be purchased for the parking and new facilities. $770,226

Water and Sewer Systems Fire Protection Access Roadways and Parking Areas

Estimated Site Cost

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Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report Figure 4.5 Proposed Ferry Terminal - Daphne

Item Existing Structures and Facilities

Inventory/Evaluation This site contains a fully functional civic center elevated on wood piling. A gazebo with a 200-foot-long pier provides access to the bay. The civic center is in good condition and will be improved to provide easy access for restrooms and refreshments as well as meet ADA requirements. The existing pier is somewhat worn and will be refurbished to accept the ferry passenger traffic. This part of the bay is shallow, and dredging will be required to provide ferry access. The civic center, gazebo, and pier have power available as well as area lighting. The lighting will be improved as part of the ferry program. The site has adequate water and sewer systems in place for use by the public. The civic center building has a fire protection system and a water main is nearby. This site is easily accessible from US-98 and the Daphne area via Bayfront Park Drive. Parking is plentiful with a crushed stone subbase and curbing for asphalt parking already in place just east of the gazebo. Other areas used for parking are not presently paved, and these improvements will be incorporated as part of the ferry program $604,248

Marine Work Power and Lighting Systems Water and Sewer Systems Fire Protection Access Roadways and Parking Areas

Estimated Site Cost July 2004

Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report Figure 4.5 Proposed Ferry Terminal - Daphne

Item Existing Structures and Facilities

Inventory/Evaluation This site contains a fully functional civic center elevated on wood piling. A gazebo with a 200-foot-long pier provides access to the bay. The civic center is in good condition and will be improved to provide easy access for restrooms and refreshments as well as meet ADA requirements. The existing pier is somewhat worn and will be refurbished to accept the ferry passenger traffic. This part of the bay is shallow, and dredging will be required to provide ferry access. The civic center, gazebo, and pier have power available as well as area lighting. The lighting will be improved as part of the ferry program. The site has adequate water and sewer systems in place for use by the public. The civic center building has a fire protection system and a water main is nearby. This site is easily accessible from US-98 and the Daphne area via Bayfront Park Drive. Parking is plentiful with a crushed stone subbase and curbing for asphalt parking already in place just east of the gazebo. Other areas used for parking are not presently paved, and these improvements will be incorporated as part of the ferry program $604,248

Marine Work Power and Lighting Systems Water and Sewer Systems Fire Protection Access Roadways and Parking Areas

Estimated Site Cost July 2004

Passenger Ferry Service Summary Report

Of the five potential terminal sites identified, only the Fairhope site would initially receive regular scheduled ferry service that would require the provision of weekday commuter parking. The Fairhope Municipal Pier site has existing parking of which a significant portion is not currently used during weekday commuter periods. An adjacent open area could also be developed for a low impact parking expansion if acceptable to the City. Should initial ferry service utilization result in parking demand that exceeds the available on-site spaces, a quick response to establish additional parking capacity at a remote site would need to be considered in conjunction with the City. Access between the pier and the remote parking facility could be provided through shuttle service operated by public or private providers. Logistics and Out-of-Service Berthing Ferry Maintenance Tasks Ferry servicing, running maintenance, and overhaul can be organized within three categories of tasks that include: Daily servicing tasks Running maintenance requirements Shipyard/boatyard projects

Daily tasks include checking safety equipment, monitoring and replenishing equipment lubricants and fluids, recording pertinent data, cleaning vessels, and renewing consumable supplies. Running maintenance requirements include fueling, routine preventative and corrective maintenance, and other tasks occurring less frequently than daily. Shipyard projects are those tasks beyond the capability of in-house or contracted mechanics at the ferry operators maintenance facility. Ferry operators use shipyards for major repairs and modifications, as well as outside maintenance of the hull and its attachments below the waterline. Ferry Maintenance Locations Ferry maintenance can be performed at four types of shore facilities: passenger terminals, lay berths, maintenance facilities, and shipyards. Passenger terminals should not be used for ferry maintenance activities. Ferry landings should remain clean with well maintained waiting areas offering an unimpeded walkway between shore and the vessel. Lay berths are in-water storage locations for vessels when they are not in service. They are generally located in secure out-ofthe-way locations where necessary daily tasks are performed before and after the ferries are in service. The maintenance facility should be located where its activities can be accomplished without interfering with normal operations. This is often collocated with the lay berths. Shipyards and boatyards have equipment and personnel that can accomplish the largest and most difficult maintenance tasks for the ferry operator. Selection of a Mobile Bay Ferry Maintenance Facility Site A dedicated maintenance facility will not be required during the early years of operation, particularly if only three ferryboats are operated. If ferry services are expanded, however, it

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probably will be cost-effective to establish a well-designed maintenance facility at some point in the future. Useful criteria for locating and outfitting a maintenance facility include: The waterfront location should not be too distant from Mobile Landing. If sufficient space is available, it could also be used as the lay berth. In that case, the berths should have limited exposure to other vessels high-energy wake wash. If available, the site could be located in a marine industry area where similar activities are centered and useful resources are readily available. If the maintenance facility is located with the lay berths, a secondary consideration would be to have the lay berths located away from, and possibly out of sight of, Mobile Landing in order to diminish waiting passenger frustration at viewing one or more out of service ferryboats. The site should be easily accessible by vehicles. A secure building is needed to hold spare parts, a workshop, a locker room, and an office. It should have a fenced and locked parking area for vehicles and large vessel components that are weatherproofed. The shop needs utilities such as 110- and 220-volt electricity, air conditioning, water, wastewater containment or treatment, air compressor, waste removal, telephone, and web access. The shop will need tools and machinery outfitted to work with wood, metal, diesel engines, electrical components, and other shipboard systems.

Possible sites were identified at: Alabama State Docks property on the Three Mile Creek/Industrial Canal waterways Alabama Department of Transportation property on the eastern side of the Mobile River over the I-10 tunnel It also might be possible to temporarily locate a maintenance facility at an unused portion of one of the local repair shipyards or boatyards

Shipyards and Boatyards Over 20 boatyards in the Mobile Bay area advertise boat repair capabilities. Many of those yards also may have useful physical and technical capabilities to assist in maintenance of the ferryboats. Not all shipyards will be interested in providing repairs to the ferryboats because many are not equipped for or experienced in repairing aluminum-hulled vessels. Larger, full-service repair shipyards located in the Mobile area include: C & G Boat Works Harrison Brothers Dry Dock and Repair Henry Marine Service Master Marine Steiner Shipyard, Inc.

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5 Environmental Review
Ferry operations and terminal activities may produce local environmental impacts. An environmental review was conducted, and major environmental considerations for ferry and terminal operations are summarized in this section. Ferry Operations A number of potential environmental impacts can result from ferry service. Vessels can impact water quality if there are spills of fuel, lube oil, or other wastes. Engine exhaust can contribute to air quality degradation. Engine exhaust and loud horns, whistles, radios, and PA announcements can increase noise levels near vessels. Wake wash energy from passing vessels can impact shore property and structures, as well as other vessels at moorings or underway. Appropriate designs and operation of the ferries can control and minimize air quality impacts with close attention by vessel designers, managers, and operating crewmembers. Depending on the dates of the procurement, engine selection should be tuned to updated emission reduction design and any potential pre- and post-treatment options available for the newest available engines. It may be possible to find engines built to EPA 2007 standards available for initial service start-up. Current applicable standards can be found in 40 CFR 89. Well-designed mufflers installed during construction will greatly assist with noise suppression. Operating and maintenance personnel are critical to reducing noise by minimizing use of loud devices, using them more when away from land, and keeping vessels properly tuned. Using standard procedures for fueling and lubricating, as well as removing wastes from the vessels promptly and properly, can minimize the occurrences of spillage. As included in Appendix C, wake wash measurements from existing vessels were taken and baselines were determined to ensure ferry selection would create less wake wash than currently exists on Mobile Bay and adjoining waterways. Using a standard distance of 300 meters, vessel impact on wash and erosion was measured for three typical vessels found on Mobile Bay. Wash from oceangoing cargo ships transiting Mobiles main channel was 71.2 cm high with energy of 5,081 joules/meter; wash from a tugboat was 90.0 cm and energy at 5,572 j/m; and wash from a passing pleasure boat measured 163.1 cm and energy at 17,859 j/m. The pleasure boat, a large yacht, had a displacement type hull and was traveling at a relatively high speed. The operating speed of a vessel is one of a number of factors which determines the dissipation of energy and resulting wash. Catamaran fast ferries operating at 27 knots or higher can be designed with wake wash less than 25.0 cm and energy under 2,000 joules/meter. Critical for high-speed operations is the need to select appropriate locations for transitions between low and high speeds because of the high wake wash generated at those transition points. If appropriate locations are not available, longer portions of the route may have to be run at slower than optimal speed to avoid excessive wake wash.

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Terminal Operations The selected terminal sites are relatively clear of hazardous substances; however, there were a few negative reports. Fuel spills from prior traffic accidents on nearby roads and a number of buried fuel tanks, most of which have been removed, were identified. Terminal operators and ferryboat crews are responsible for keeping these areas clean and waste-free. Fueling is only likely to be done at the future maintenance facility or, even more likely, at commercial fuel docks in the Mobile area. Careful attention is required to ensure no fuels or wastes are spilled in the water. The potential for ferry service induced road traffic volumes was considered. Due to the length of the weekday morning peak period (occurring over three hours) and the relatively low number of additional vehicles anticipated to randomly arrive at the terminal, significant additional traffic volumes are not anticipated. Any associated dredging with terminal development should consider the type of dredging utilized, removal of material to a proper disposal area, and potential impact to marine life. Marine Life Two marine species, the Florida Manatee and the Gulf Sturgeon, were identified by the U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS) as species requiring special attention. The F&WS information is included in Appendix D. Florida Manatees have often been sighted in Mobile Bay, particularly in shallow areas with vegetation during the warmer months. The Manatee is an endangered species that can be injured if struck by boat hulls or cut by propellers. F&WS recommended that a trained Manatee observer be employed aboard each ferryboat during summer months to alert the Captain of any Manatees spotted in the water so the ferry can avoid that area. It is likely that an existing crewmember would serve as the Manatee lookout. On any smaller boats operating with only one crewmember, an additional person would be required. To allow for consistency in the comparison of different boats operated on each route, no additional costs were included for a Manatee lookout on small boats. The Gulf Sturgeon is classified as a threatened species and is not likely to be impacted by the ferryboat operations. Gulf Sturgeons could, however, be negatively impacted by dredging required to construct the ferry terminals. Consequently, the F&WS indicated that special precautions would have to be taken to preclude injury to Gulf Sturgeons during dredging operations.

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6 Economic Analysis
Economic analysis for ferry service development evaluated potential capital and operating costs of providing ferry service alternatives. Costs considered ferryboat acquisition, terminal construction, financing, labor, fuel, maintenance, insurance, management, and marketing. Capital Costs Table 6.1 lists the acquisition cost for each of the five types of ferries. It was assumed that new boats would be purchased. The table also shows the daily capital cost for each of the boats, assuming 350 operating days for each vessel. If a boat is operated for fewer than 350 days, total annual capital costs must be divided by the number of operating days. Although the hovercraft is included in the comparison, these are currently not built in the United States. Because of the Jones Act, which prohibits service between U.S. locations aboard a foreign-built vessel, it would not be possible to purchase a foreign-built hovercraft and operate it in Mobile Bay. Table 6.1 Estimated Capital Costs for Selected Ferryboats and Hovercraft
Boat No. Hull Type Description Passenger capacity Operating speed (knots) Approx. Capital Cost* Source: IBJ Associates Note (*) Cost in $000 20 40 $900 1 Hovercraft 2 Monohull Alum. Zodiac 24 25 $300 34 30 $1,050 75 40 $2,200 149 33 $3,900 3 Catamaran 4 Catamaran 5 Catamaran

The recommended ferryboat, the 75-passenger catamaran, is estimated to have a purchase capital cost of $2.2 million. Thus, for three boats the total cost would be $6.6-million, of which 80 percent or $5.3 million may be covered by federal grants with local funding required for the remaining 20 percent. Order-of-magnitude costs were estimated for modifying existing facilities or building new terminals at five locations on Mobile Bay. A summary of the estimated costs is included in Table 6.2. As indicated, capital costs for all five facilities totals $3.0 million. For the initial project phase, only three terminals will be required: one at Mobile Landing, one at Fairhopes Long Pier, and the third at Gulf Shores. The Mobile Landing terminal will be built as part of another project. The cost of building the other two terminals is estimated to total about $871,000. Of this amount, the terminal cost at Fairhopes Long Pier would be $497,000 with $374,000 for the terminal in Gulf Shores. This would allow ferryboats to provide scheduled service to Fairhope and to make limited runs to Gulf Shores seasonally, on weekends, or during off-peak times for scheduled, subscription, or special excursion service as capacity and funding allow. The terminal in Gulf Shores would be built on the south side of the Gulf Intracoastal

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Waterway near the SR 59 Bridge. Initial limited service to Point Clear would be through utilization of an existing facility prior to placement of a new terminal. Table 6.2 Estimated Costs of Ferry Terminals by Location
Proposed Terminal Location Fairhope (Long Pier) Gulf Shores Point Clear Fowl River Daphne (Bayfront Park) Total Costs* $497,000 $374,000 $743,000 $770,000 $604,000

Total: $2,988,000 Source: KBR estimates Note (*): Estimates are based on order-of-magnitude costs

Federal subsidies should be available to cover 80 percent of the capital costs for ferryboats, terminals, and a transit vehicle for Fairhope shuttle service. The estimated capital costs are shown in Table 6.3. Funding options are discussed in Section 7: Ferry Recommendation Initial Service.

Table 6.3 Estimated Capital Costs for Terminals, Ferryboats, and Fairhope Shuttle (current dollars)
Item Description Terminals (Fairhopes Long Pier and Gulf Shores) Ferryboats Shuttle Vehicle for Fairhope Downtown-Long Pier Total Capital Cost Less 80% Federal Grants Capital Costs to be funded through other sources: Source: IBJA Associates Three-boat Fleet $871,000 $6,600,000 $100,000 $7,571,000 $6,057,000 $1,514,000 Two-boat Fleet $871,000 $4,400,000 $100,000 $5,371,000 $4,297,000 $1,074,000

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Operating Costs Operating costs were calculated for each of the vessel types. Crew costs were the only labor costs included as a separate category. All shoreside labor was assumed to be in the management cost category. The monohull and the smallest capacity catamaran were assumed to be crewed by only a Captain, while the larger boats were assumed to be crewed by a Captain and a mate. Crewing the ferryboats will be the responsibility of the company or city/county department selected to manage the Mobile Bay ferry services. Regardless of who manages the boats, certain crew requirements must be met. It is important to recognize that the U.S. Coast Guards local Captain of the Port dictates required staffing of ferries. Staffing assumed herein is representative of what typically is required by the U.S. Coast Guard in other ports. It is always possible, although unlikely, that the U.S. Coast Guard will require different staffing because of local conditions or anticipated risks. Also, it may be required that a trained Manatee observer be on board the ferryboats during the warmer months, and the cost for an additional observer has not been included in the operating costs. It was assumed that the Manatee observer, if required, would be part of the crew, specially trained to spot Manatees along with other duties. For planning purposes, the manning levels were estimated for the different boats. positions were defined, as follows: Three

Captain-1: A USCG-licensed captain, experienced in high-speed ferry operations. Captain-2/Mate: A USCG-licensed captain, with less experience than Captain-1. Deckhand: An unlicensed crewmember who would assist with lines during docking and undocking and handle ticket collection onboard.

Captain-1 and Captain-2 would hold the same Masters license from the USCG; the primary difference between the two is the amount of experience, which would, in turn, be reflected in the salaries paid at each level. The more experienced Captain-1 is assumed to be employed on the hovercraft and the two largest (75- and 149-passenger) catamarans. The captain on the two smaller ferryboats was assumed to be the less experienced Captain-2. The 75-passenger catamaran was assumed to have one deckhand in addition to the captain. The 149-passenger catamaran was assumed to have two additional crewmembers: a mate (Captain-2) and a deckhand. As shown in Table 6.4, hourly costs ranged from about $29.00 for a Captain to $14.00 for a deckhand. The Mate category in the middle column represents the costs for the Captain on the two small boats, and the mate on the larger boats. Overtime costs were assumed to be 150 percent of straight-time costs for all positions.

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Table 6.4 Estimated Wage Cost Input for Ferryboat Crews


Category Salary Fringes and taxes Total annual cost Annual workdays Less vacation days Less holidays Net annual workdays Daily cost Hourly cost (8 hr./day) Source: IBJ Associates Captain $38,000 $14,755 $52,755 260 20 10 230 $229.37 $28.67 Mate $27,500 $10,607 $38,107 260 15 10 235 $162.16 $20.27 Deckhand $18,500 $7,506 $26,006 260 15 10 235 $110.66 $13.83

All boats and the hovercraft are powered by diesel engines. The price of diesel fuel, net of road taxes, was assumed to average about $1.00 per gallon over an extended period. Lube oil for the diesel engines was assumed to cost $5.00 per gallon. Fuel consumption was assumed to vary with the cube of speed for that portion of total fuel consumption used to propel the boat. The propulsive percentage used in the calculations was 90 percent for monohulls and catamarans and 50 percent for the hovercraft. As shown in Table 6.5, fuel consumption at operating speeds ranged from 25 to 222 gallons per hour. On a gallons per passenger capacity per hour basis, the 149-passenger catamaran was the most fuel efficient and the hovercraft was the least. Table 6.5 Fuel Consumption at Operating Speed for Selected Ferryboats and a Hovercraft Ferry (gallons per hour)
Hull type Monohull Hovercraft Catamaran Catamaran Catamaran Source: IBJ Associates Passenger Capacity 24 20 34 75 149 Operating speed (knots) 25 40 30 40 33 Fuel consumption (gph) 25 27 36 120 222

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Maintenance and repair (M&R) costs were assumed to vary with the size of the boat. M&R costs included normal maintenance, such as painting and machinery preventive maintenance, as well as major M&R costs, such as drydocking and engine overhauls. Drydocking was assumed to be on a two-year cycle, and major engine overhauls assumed to be on a four-year cycle or approximately 15,000 engine hours. Annual M&R costs were estimated to range from $30,000 to $50,000 per boat. Annual supplies and equipment costs were also assumed to vary with the size of the boat, ranging from a low of $2,250 per year to a high of $3,600 per year. Miscellaneous costs of $100 per month also were included in this category. Three types of marine insurance coverage typically would be carried to operate a ferry service in Mobile Bay: Hull & Machinery (H&M) insurance covers accidental damage to the boat itself from risks such as collision, grounding, etc. Protection & Indemnity (P&I) insurance covers any liabilities that arise from injuries to crewmembers or passengers or accidental damage to other property. Pollution insurance contributes to the cost of cleaning up fuel or oil spills that could endanger the environment.

Each of the three types of insurance would provide the level of coverage and have the limitations specified in the policies. H&M insurance was estimated to cost between 1.6 and 2.2 percent of each boats capital cost, with a fleet reduction to 1.0 to 1.6 percent for additional boats. P&I and pollution insurance was estimated to have an annual cost ranging from $8,400 to $18,000 per boat, depending on size, speed, and passenger capacity. Management of the ferry services could be provided by a public agency or contract operator. Staffing requirements would be limited, especially during the early years of operation. Thus, it was assumed that management costs would be based on a percentage of operation costs, which, in turn, are an indication of the scope of the operation. During the initial operating period, it was assumed that management costs would be equivalent to 20 percent of total non-fuel operating costs. Marketing and promotion could be handled either by the entity managing operations or by a marketing company contracted to implement specific, approved plans. In either case, the strategy would be designed to use relatively low-cost methods to make residents and visitors aware of the ferry. As a starting point, the name of the ferry service and the color of the boats should be distinctive and attractive, and create a positive impression on potential users. Ticketing generally would be handled on the boats. Multi-ride ticket books, discount tickets (e.g., groups, students, seniors), and promotional tickets would be available in an office at the ferrys Mobile Landing terminal. Security has increased in importance since the traumatic events of 9/11. Current regulations will require fencing and controls that limit unauthorized access to the terminals or boats. No additional operating costs were included specifically for security, but it is possible that such costs will be incurred in the future.

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Table 6.6 presents a comparison of operating costs per hour for four ferryboats and the hovercraft. The 149-passenger catamaran has the highest hourly costs and the 24-passenger monohull has the lowest. However, when passenger capacity is considered, the large 149passenger catamaran has the lowest hourly cost per unit of passenger capacity (equivalent to per passenger costs at full utilization). Finally, when both passenger capacity and speed are considered, the 149-passenger catamaran also produces the lowest cost per passenger mile at full utilization. In fact, using that comprehensive measure, the three catamarans provide the lowest costs. Table 6.6 Average Operating Costs per Hour for Selected Ferryboats
Operating Costs per Hour Hovercraft Description Crew cost Boat cost** Fuel and Lube cost Management fee (20%) Total Operating Costs Op. Cost/Passenger* Op. Cost/Pass/Mile* Crew cost Boat cost Fuel and Lube cost Management fee (20%) 20 Pass. $28.67 $28.06 $33.85 $11.35 $101.93 $5.10 $0.127 28.1% 27.5% 33.2% 11.1% Monohull 24 Pass. $20.27 $10.63 $19.02 $6.18 $56.10 $2.34 $0.094 36.1% 18.9% 33.9% 11.0% Catamaran 34 Pass. $20.27 $14.05 $25.29 $6.86 $66.47 $1.96 $0.065 30.5% 21.1% 38.0% 10.3% Catamaran 75 Pass. $42.50 $20.03 $75.28 $12.51 $150.32 $2.00 $0.050 28.3% 13.3% 50.1% 8.3% Catamaran 149 Pass. $62.77 $16.68 $146.08 $15.89 $241.42 $1.62 $0.049 26.0% 6.9% 60.5% 6.6% 100.0%

Percentage Distribution of Total Operating Costs

100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% Total Operating Costs Source: IBJ Associates Note (*): Calculations are based on passenger capacity, which assumes 100% utilization Note (**) Capital costs are not included

It is important to recognize the substantial impact of utilization on such measures. On boats having similar characteristics but differing in size, the boat achieving the highest capacity utilization will typically realize the lowest cost per passenger. Table 6.7 provides an example, drawn from the preceding table. At full utilization, the 149-passenger catamaran has a cost per passenger mile of $0.049. That cost is less than half the $0.094 cost of the 24-passenger monohull ferry. However, if the 149-passenger ferry can attain only 25 percent capacity utilization, its cost per passenger-mile would increase to $0.196, which is 109 percent higher than the monohull ferrys cost at full utilization. Thus, the size of the potential market and the distribution of passengers by sailing will be very important factors in determining the proper sized boat to serve a given route.

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Table 6.7 Operating Cost per Passenger-Mile at Different Capacity Utilization Levels
Passenger Capacity Utilization 100% 50% 25% Source: IBJ Associates Type and Passenger Capacity of Ferryboat Monohull (24 Passenger Capacity) $0.094 $0.188 $0.376 Catamaran (75 Passenger Capacity) $0.050 $0.100 $0.200 Catamaran (149 Passenger Capacity) $0.049 $0.098 $0.196

Other factors are important determinants of boat size, including: Maximum passenger loads likely given seasonal, day-of-the-week, and time-of-day variations in ridership demand Potential market growth that will require additional capacity Flexibility to operate a boat on different routes, with different utilization levels Flexibility to use a boat for charters or cruises

Associated Costs In addition to the ferry service capital and operating cost estimates, the associated costs for providing complementary landside transit were also developed. The Baldwin Rural Area Transportation System (BRATS) is the current public transit provider in Baldwin County. Their services are primarily demand response and subscription in nature. Although BRATS currently operates a relatively large number of vehicles, they indicated that implementation of new transit services to support ferry services must be accomplished through the addition of dedicated capital and operating resources. The initial Mobile-Fairhope ferry service would require an additional transit vehicle at an estimated capital cost of $100,000. This vehicle would be used to provide shuttle service between the pier and downtown Fairhope areas. If service operated every 30 minutes, from 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM on weekdays and from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays the estimated annual operating cost would be approximately $150,000. This does not include any offset that could be derived from passenger fares or private participation. Adjustments to the operating hours could be made depending on funding availability and experience with travel market need and demand. Should scheduled or subscription ferry service be initiated to Gulf Shores, an additional vehicle and operating funds would be required to implement regular transit service. The potential for private sector providers to meet ferry services was also considered. Consideration could be given to implementing a call system from the Maritime Center to arrange for call ahead service through designated providers. There are currently two taxi providers in the Eastern Shore and Gulf Shores areas who might be interested in exploring potential transportation opportunities resulting from ferry passengers. Metro Transit plans to extend Moda! service to the Mobile Landing area to coincide with the new Maritime Center and cruise ship terminal. Moda! not only provides shuttle service within the downtown area, but also provides access to other Metro Transit routes and services.

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7 Ferry Recommendations Initial Service


The study results provided clear indication of the feasibility for establishing ferry service in Mobile Bay. The details of service implementation will be further developed in subsequent documentation. Service parameters, describing general operations of the first routes to connect Mobile with Fairhope, Gulf Shores, and Point Clear, are outlined in this section. Ferry Services Initial service would be implemented between Mobile and Fairhope. Service would be provided on weekdays between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM with 30-minute peak and hourly off-peak frequencies. Service frequencies of one to two hours would be provided on weekends between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM. With the establishment of a Gulf Shores terminal, a range of services, such as scheduled, subscription, and special excursions, could be established depending on capacity and funding availability. Limited service could also be initially established to an existing facility in Point Clear. Ferryboats Three high-speed, aluminum-hulled catamaran ferryboats, providing 75-passenger capacity, 40knot average speed, ADA accessibility, and on-board restroom and snack/beverage service, are required to provide the described service. Terminals The initial development of terminals would include Fairhope and Gulf Shores, in addition to Mobile Landing. After initial service implementation, additional terminal development would next be at Point Clear, Fowl River, and Daphne. Costs The ferryboats will cost approximately $2.2 million each to build. Since at least two boats will be required, and three are recommended, total boat costs will be between $4.4 and $6.6 million. The cost to construct two terminals in Fairhope (Long Pier) and Gulf Shores is estimated to total $871,000. The cost of a transit vehicle to provide shuttle service within the Fairhope area was included at a $100,000 cost. It is important to note that capital cost subsidies through federal grants are anticipated be available to partially or fully offset capital costs, both for ferryboats and terminals. The estimated capital costs for terminals, vessels, and a transit vehicle are summarized in Table 7.1.

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Table 7.1 Estimated Capital Costs for Initial Mobile-Fairhope Ferry Service Category Terminal, Vessel, and Vehicle Cost Less 80% Federal Grants Other Sources
Source: IBJ Associates

Three-boat Fleet Two-boat Fleet $7,600,000 $6,100,000 $1,500,000 $5,400,000 $4,300,000 $1,100,000

Annual operating costs included: Crew wages, fringe benefits, and employer taxes Boat costs (insurance, maintenance & repair, supplies, and miscellaneous costs) Voyage costs (including fuel and lube oil costs) Management fees (assumed to be equal to 20 percent of non-fuel operating costs)

Table 7.2 compares the annual operating costs incurred by a three-boat and a two-boat fleet, totaling $1.5 million and $1.2 million, respectively. Table 7.2 Estimated Annual Operating Statement for Initial Mobile-Fairhope Ferry Service
Item description Income Fare receipts, commuter Fare receipts, non-commuter Groups, charters, misc. Total Income Crew wages Annual boat costs Voyage costs (fuel) Management fees (20% of non-fuel OpCst) Total Operating Expenses Operating Deficit Annual Operating Deficit ($504,571) ($467,211) Source: IBJA Associates Note: A full service scheduled Fairhope shuttle operation is estimated to have an annual operating cost of $150,000. During early stages of ferry service implementation, the most advantageous approach (public and/or private) to providing shuttle service would need to be determined. $680,400 $289,658 $25,000 $995,058 Operating Expenses $582,137 $252,420 $498,161 $166,911 $1,499,629 $496,448 $168,280 $436,046 $132,946 $1,233,720 $510,300 $246,209 $10,000 $766,509 Three-boat Fleet Two-boat Fleet

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Fare receipts for commuters were assumed to be 25 percent less with two boats than with three. With only two boats, peak headways would be approximately 40 minutes rather than the 30 minutes provided with three boats in operation. Having rolling departure times would be somewhat less attractive to riders, and the two boats would not be able to make as many sailings during peak hours as three boats. Estimated Revenues The majority of revenues would be derived from farebox receipts. In addition, a small amount of revenue could be earned from charters, cruises, and ancillary activities. Three categories of riders were considered: commuters, non-commuter residents, and visitors. Fares were assumed to be at the following levels: Rider Category Commuter (multi-ride book) Resident (multi-ride book) Visitor Fare $4.50 $5.00 $6.00

Once the initial service stabilizes, it is expected that an average of 300 commuters would generate 600 one-way rider-trips per day, totaling 150,000 one-way rider-trips per year. It was also assumed that non-commuters would ride during non-commuting hours and be evenly represented by residents and visitors. Thus, the average non-commuting fare earned would be $5.50. Once service is initiated, it is anticipated that demand will follow for non-commuter ridership. Consequently, it was conservatively estimated that 10 percent of capacity would be utilized during non-commuter hours. That level of non-commuter ridership would produce a total of 52,725 one-way rider-trips per year. Potential Annual Deficit As indicated in Table 7.2, the initial ferry service proposed for Mobile Bay would require an annual operating subsidy of about $505,000 with a three-boat fleet. Initiating the service with only two boats would reduce the operating subsidy required by about $38,000 per year, but it also would reduce operating flexibility, require less attractive scheduling (40-minute headways rather than 30-minute headways), and increase the risk of service disruptions due to mechanical problems or adverse weather. The potential weekday and weekend/holiday schedules on which the Income Statement is based are included in Appendix E. Potential Funding Sources There are a variety of funding sources to support ferry services. Funding is available from public and private sources, both federal and non-federal, for construction or purchase of ferries and terminals. Some funding can be used to support operations.

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Federal sources are primarily the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), but other federal agencies can provide matching grants or loan guarantees. FHWA criteria to use Federal-Aid Highway Funds for ferryboat and terminal improvement projects concern the services location, ownership, public benefit, operating authority, fare controls, and cost sharing. The ferry must operate in U.S. states and its territories, or between any state and Canada. The system can be publicly owned, publicly operated (even if privately owned), or majority publicly owned. The ferry service should provide substantial public benefits. The operating authority for a ferry facility must be under the control of a public entity. Fares should also be under the control of a public entity, where all revenues are applied to operational costs, which can include a reasonable rate of return for a privatelyoperated toll ferry. FHWA will pay up to 80 percent of the capital cost, with the balance paid by a state or local entity or with private contributions. FHWA has three relevant funding programs: National Highway System Funds are for improvements to the designated National Highway System. A funded ferry terminal must provide a link for motor vehicles within the system and be a substitute for a tunnel or bridge. This funding is not available for purchasing ferryboats. Surface Transportation Program Funds are to assist Federal Aid Highways on noninterstate routes. They can be used for terminals and vehicular ferries. Passenger-only ferry systems can also access these funds, but are administered by the Federal Transit Authority (FTA). Ferry Boat Discretionary Funds are designed for vehicular and passenger-only ferry and terminal construction. Most of the limited funding is set aside for projects in Alaska, Washington, and New Jersey, with the balance earmarked in Congress for specific projects.

FTA has five funding programs that can be used for ferry projects: Urbanized Area Formula Grants are for transportation management areas with populations of 200,000 or more. They provide operating assistance as well as capital project funding. The Nonurbanized Area Formula Grants program is similar, but for less populated areas. Fixed Guideway Urbanization Grants, despite their name, can also be used for ferryboat purchases or improvements, but not for operating expenses. The grants can be used to modernize or improve transit systems. New Starts Grants also apply to ferryboats for the capital costs of a new or expanded service. Funds can be used for a new project to develop a transit corridor or for an extension of an existing service. Job Access and Reverse Commute Grants can be used for capital or operating costs to start new ferry services for welfare recipients and other low-income individuals, as well as to transport workers to suburban job sites.

Most U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) sources require matching funds from states and localities, but allow matches from other federal programs that support transportation needs.

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Generally, state funding sources come from legislatures. Local programs and funding can be used as in-kind matches for federal funds. Public, public-nonprofit, and public-private partnerships are often useful sources. Private and employer-based funding can be linked to governmental tax benefits. Private commercial sources consist of traditional financial institutions like major banks, pension funds, insurance companies, local and regional banks, and private investors. Lenders who have financed ferry projects include Caterpillar Financial Services Corp., CitiCapital Commercial Corp., and GE Capital Commercial Equipment Financing. U.S. Maritime Administrations Federal Ship Financing Program (Title XI) guarantees private sector debt financing for U.S. built ferries and lowers the cost of capital. It is not a direct loan program, but it provides a means to guarantee that funds borrowed from commercial sources will be paid back to the lenders. This reduces the interest cost of the borrowed capital. In Alabama, local governments use property, gasoline, sales, and other taxes to supplement transportation expenses. Municipal governments may adopt local option sales taxes by ordinance, while counties must obtain legislative authorization for adoption of a sales tax. As new transit services such as passenger ferry routes are implemented, a source of dedicated local funds must be established to provide local match to capital costs and offset deficits between the system operating costs and associated revenues. Sales tax rates vary between jurisdictions. Since most of the funds paying for the City of Mobiles business-type activity are derived from the nine percent sales tax, it is unlikely that an increase in the tax rate would be a feasible source for a ferry system operating subsidy. However, the amount of sales has been rising, and some of the resulting growth in sales tax revenue could be allocated to support ferry services, depending on relative priorities for the use of any growing tax revenue. The potential for deriving ferry funding through an increase of the lodgings tax in the City of Mobile and Baldwin County was evaluated. In fiscal year 2003, the City of Mobile generated approximately $2,950,000 from a six percent lodgings tax, and Baldwin County generated $3,948,000 from a two percent lodgings tax. Assuming similar conditions and usage of City of Mobile lodging, a one percent increase in the lodgings tax has the potential to generate nearly $500,000 per year. Baldwin County, which draws from a much larger pool, could collect nearly $1,000,000 per year with a one-half percent increase in the lodgings tax. In Alabama, cities have more control over increasing their local lodging tax rate whereas the counties must go through the state legislature to get an increase in the lodgings tax. Currently, the revenues generated in Baldwin County are dedicated to the Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. The City of Mobiles revenues are directed into their general fund and enterprise fund. To support ferry operations with lodgings tax revenues, it may be relatively easier for the cities with ferry terminals to increase their lodgings tax than Baldwin County. Eastern Shore cities currently collecting a lodging tax are Daphne (four percent), Fairhope (four percent), and Gulf Shores (five percent). Ultimately, if this type of funding mechanism were used, each participating jurisdiction would need to dedicate a percentage of the tax revenues to the authority operating the ferry service.

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