Former mail carrier Cory Parkos has had an interest in electric boats since he was a kid. After retiring and getting his captain’s license, he just needed to find the right vessel for him to steer.
“There really wasn’t anything taking people around on the water anymore,” he says.
Around the time of his retirement, Greg Hoseth was in the process of finishing a solar powered water taxi that he hoped to launch on the river. Hoseth needed a captain, Parkos wanted to drive a boat. And Minneapolis Water Taxi was born.
Currently in its first summer of operation, the water taxi is similar to those that can be found in places like Chicago or Seattle. The cruises can accommodate up to six passengers at a time, and each ride lasts approximately one hour.
“People really seem to like it,” says Parkos. “The fact that the boat is solar powered means that it’s quiet and there’s no gasoline smell coming off of it. People can bring their own food and drinks and relax. It’s like a limo on the water.”
For the time being the taxi is mostly aimed at people looking to cruise the river, taking passengers from Boom Island down the Mississippi and up toward the Lowry Bridge. However, with its early success Parkos says that he and his partner are looking to get more docking areas in Minneapolis.
“We take people out every day of the week,” he says. “We’re going to keep doing trips until the weather won’t allow us to anymore; definitely all summer long, and hopefully into the fall so we can get some fall colors.”
Captain Parkos’ “luxury limo” taxi is very affordable. Cruises cost just $60 for the hour. When you split that up between six riders, that’s less than the cost of the average Uber ride.
“It’s not about making money for me,” Parkos explains. “It’s about being on the water and having a good time.”
With word-of-mouth building and more people contacting him to book reservations, he says that the only complaint he’s hearing from passengers is that this likely won’t be their own secret gem on the water for much longer.
“People really love it, but they tell me that they don’t want to tell too many people because they don’t want me to be booked up all the time,” he laughs.
Whether Minneapolis will become the next water taxi town is still up for debate, but Captain Parkos and his sun boat are here to stay.
Click here for reservations and details.