Permission to Board

Commuters ride the Wendella taxis along the Chicago River

Ahoy. The boating season has begun on the Chicago River.

On Monday, commuters boarded the Chicago River water taxi for the first time this season, as the service resumed operation from downtown train stations to other stops along the river.

The trip was chilly, the Chicago Tribune reports, but not without its benefits.

"It's like for five minutes you feel like you're on vacation," the paper quotes Susan Galens of Deerfield as saying.

Galens stood on the outer deck of the Alpha, one of Wendella Boats' two taxis on the river, bracing the cold as she continued her trip from the suburbs to her office at Mesirow Financial.

Wendella had hoped to open the boat service on March 17, but the city's wintry weather prevented that.

"Between the snow and the deep  freezing temperatures, it was tough to get a lot of the work done on the boats," Wendella marketing director Gregg Pupecki told the Tribune.

But the work is done and the boats are in service, and on Monday and Tuesday -- just for fun -- the rides are free.

And even when you pay, it's fun and quiet and without traffic hassles, riders said. Besides, the view is worth the cost.

The Wendella River Taxi between 2 N. Riverside Plaza and Michigan Avenue regularly costs $2 a ride one-way. Weekend rides between Chinatown and Michigan Avenue cost $4. Ten-ride tickets are $16; monthly passes are $42.

Check out pictures of the Tribune's pictures of the first day of the season.

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