Plan to launch new water taxi service in Manchester

Old Trafford Image copyright Geograph
Image caption The new water taxis are hoping to have a stop near Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium

A water taxi service for tourists and shoppers is set to be launched on a Manchester canal from June.

Manchester Water Taxis (MWT) has been given a two-year licence to run two boats on Bridgewater Canal.

The 25ft (7.62m) boats - or Waxis - will be able to carry 12 passengers between Dukes 92 bar in Castlefield and the Trafford Centre, via Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.

Tickets are expected to start at £5.

Image copyright Steve Cadwell
Image caption Peter Parkinson, Bridgewater Canal general manager (left), with Steven Cadwell of Manchester Water Taxis

MWT owner Steven Cadwell signed the licence deal with Bridgewater Canal Company Limited - which is owned by the Manchester-based Peel Property Group - after year-long negotiations.

He said: "The order to start building the two boats has been sent to Aintree Boats in Liverpool this week and it should take 12 weeks before they are ready.

"We are going to recruit at least six skippers and there will be other staff taken on.

"We are hoping to launch in Manchester in June."

Image caption Water taxis are already operating in other UK cities, including Leeds and Cardiff

Mr Cadwell had previously planned to launch a water taxi service between Manchester city centre and Salford Quays in 2009.

But the scheme was scuppered when Network Rail opened the Ordsall Chord to link Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria stations, blocking the planned route.

Peter Parkinson, Bridgewater Canal general manager, said: "We are delighted to have agreed terms to bring this alternative form of public transport onto the Bridgewater Canal."

Image copyright Geograph
Image caption Tourists could be taking trips along the Bridgewater Canal this summer

Canal history

  • The Bridgewater Canal was the world's first commercial canal
  • It was built to carry coal from the Duke of Bridgewater's mine at Worsley to nearby towns and cities
  • Work started in September 1760 and it opened in July the following year

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