Toronto to Rochester by ship?

Is there a way to get from Toronto, ON to Rochester, NY by ship? Google tells me that the ferry service has been discontinued, is that true? Are there any alternatives?

I don’t know if there’s another way, but yes, the fast ferry has been shut down.

And no, short of hiring a charter or taking your own boat, there’s no passenger service between the two cities.

:confused: But why? It’s not even a hundred miles! Is there no demand at all?

Still, thanks for your replies.

Maybe because, in order to make it pay, somebody would have to want to go from Toronto to Rochester.

– CalMeacham, who still hates Rochester, even 23 years later.

There’s a sizable market of under-21 RIT and UR students who like to go to Toronto to get plastered.

Of course, then they realize they don’t want to go back to Rochester, making the ferry profitable in only one direction.

The problems with the ferry were legion. There was some demand, but:

the timing of the runs back and forth were not very convenient.
the ferry could only operate during good weather and not all year.
it’s only 3 hours by car, and when you added in getting to the ferry early and going through customs on the other side, you didn’t gain any time.
it was supposed to make money from trucking but for various reasons got restricted to passenger cars.
it was expensive to move a family of four across.
no adequate publicity in Canada or marketing in the U.S. was ever accomplished.
a series of accidents and mishaps kept putting the ferry out of commission and making it not appear to be safe.
it was undercapitalized and oversized.

There’s probably a hundred more reasons, but they all boil down to driving your car around the lake is every bit as efficient, much more convenient, and probably cheaper.

Not if you’re flying into Toronto and are looking for a way to spend a day or two in the US without having to rent a car first.

And that justifies a multi-million boat operation, with all the necessary permits and customs facilities, multi-million dollar port operations on both sides, and general expense in time, material, and personnel?

It doesn’t. Even if a million people a year were reluctant to rent a car, it wouldn’t be cheaper. And there aren’t a million in that situation. There aren’t 10,000. And what are you going to do once you get to the U.S.? You couldn’t rent a car from the ferry terminal and there’s next to no public transportation and no hotels at the port.

It’s simply a lousy proposition economically. All the skeptics said so from the very beginning. The actual operation was so bad we’ll probably never know if the idea could have worked (some people are talking about bringing in a much smaller boat, now that the port facilities already exist) if everything had been done perfectly. As it stands, it was the economic equivalent of Pets.com, the firm that thought it could make money selling 50-pound bags of pet food over the internet. For the vast majority of the public it was just easier, cheaper, and more convenient to go down to the store and pick them up. The rest weren’t a large enough market. There are lots and lots of markets like that. A Lake Ontario ferry seems to be one of them.

Of course not. I’m sorry, I did not intend to come across as being that self-centered. But I’d thought that there was bound to be some touristic demand (day-trips, whatever) both ways, which is obviously not the case.

I did not know that either.

I didn’t mean to imply you were asking anything wrong. It’s a universal reaction to be surprised when nobody offers a service you’d be willing to pay money for.

The catch is always that there may not be many people like you, or if there are, they wouldn’t want to use the service more than once (in a long while). Any business relies on repeat customers for the majority of their revenues. If a million people wanted to use a ferry service once every ten years, the service would go broke the first year, because they’d need, say, half a million customers a year.

Of course, lots of business do go broke and for that very reason.