Under the direction of Mayor William Johnson, the city of Rochester purchased the Fast Ferry on Feb. 28, reopening travel between Rochester and Toronto beginning in late May.

“This is something that students on campus will definitely look to taking advantage of,” Assistant Director of Student Activities Laura Ballou said. “I have heard some student groups mention that going to Toronto would be a good trip to plan as one of their activities.”

Rochester purchased the Spirit of Ontario, a five-story ship equipped with two movie theaters, food options, wireless Internet and a duty-free shop on board, for $32 million.

The boat can hold 774 passengers on its voyage across Lake Ontario. In the 80 days it was running last year, 133,000 people rode the ferry.

“A few students went on the ferry last year when it was open, and they said they really enjoyed it,” Ballou said.

The ferry was opened on June 17, 2004, and then closed on Sept. 7. The city has set Memorial Day as the goal to open travel again.

“I would like to see it go through the summer to see how it’s doing,” Director of Student Activities Anne-Marie Algier said. “Then next year we will work with groups and hopefully do something to get people out into the community. We are always trying to connect with the city and this opens us up to doing more programs.”

The class councils and other groups on campus have been working to provide opportunities for more students to get off campus.

“The Fast Ferry is one of the few times in my experience here that students have paid an attention to things going on in the city,” Students’ Association President and senior Pete Nabozny said. “This is a great effort by the city to try to excite young people to stay in Rochester after graduation.”

Students recognize the ferry as a good way to attract incoming students to Rochester.

“When I was looking at colleges, I thought the ferry was one thing that was really special to Rochester,” freshman Alex Aronovitz said. “I have never been to Toronto, but I am definitely looking forward to going,” Aronovitz said.

The ticket price, which has not yet been decided, is a source of concern to interested students.

“I think it would be fun to go if it were cheap enough,” sophomore Shelley Jaumot said. “I am a poor college student, and I think the city should take this into account when setting a price for the tickets.”

Overall, students are eager to see how the situation develops.

“I hope that this time the ferry will be able to stay open long enough to see how it will benefit the city,” freshman Rebekah Mott said. “Last time, it was only running for such a short time.”

The city is still making decisions about the future of the ferry.

These decisions include figuring out how and when the city will pay for the ferry and how the ferry will ensure that this time the ferry will be successful.

“It was a really good decision for the city to buy the ferry,” Aronovitz said. “I really think it will bring a lot of money and publicity to Rochester.”

Paret can be reached at


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