‘Completely different world’: Watertown man works to bring ferry service to Charles River

BOSTON — Imagine trading the honking and the stopping and starting of a stressful commute for a relaxing ride down the Charles River.

It might be a great way to start the day.

That’s the vision of a Watertown man who wants to launch regular ferry service from his hometown to downtown Boston.

“It’s just such a completely different world getting back and forth on the water,” said Drew Rollert, a software engineer who launched Wada Hoppah in his spare time.

Wada Hoppah is a water hopper with a Boston accent.

“The vision is to create a comfortable, relaxing, and reliable way to get from Watertown to Boston and back, either to commute, to go see a Sox game or to go dine.”

Rollert’s company would feature environmentally friendly electric boats that can navigate the Charles’ shallow waters.

They’ll also include features not available on the T.

“When you get on it, you’ll have your own seat. There’ll be a table and you can put a laptop, a phone or Starbucks on it. And then plug in the heated seats. A bathroom, you can use a bathroom during your commute!”

There is some precedent for boat service on the Charles. Photos from the Watertown Free Library show companies that took passengers out on the Charles back in the mid-20th century.

Rollert’s main motivation is to get cars off the road. He says “the old adage is 90% of most cars only have one person in them.”

He knows the ferry isn’t a panacea for Boston’s traffic woes but believes it’s a piece of a larger puzzle.

“I would hope that we could be like the Lynn Ferry, the Hull Ferry, that says hey, you know what, they may run north and south, we’re going east to west and we’re just adding on to the options.”

The target fare is in the range of $25 which Rollert says is less than taking an Uber.

He hopes they might be able to get some governmental agencies to subsidize the service.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation manages the Charles River.

Officials there tell Boston 25 News commercial operations on the river require a permit.

They say they’ve been in touch with Rollert and are waiting to get his completed application.

Rollert had hoped to get service going this fall but now says that next spring is more likely.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW

Comments on this article