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BREAKING NEWS: No Contract For Duck Boat Company

Mayor Nutter today announced that the city will not award a contract to the amphibious tour company Ride the Ducks to operate on the Schuylkill River.

BREAKING NEWS: No Contract For Duck Boat Company

A Ride the Ducks boat on the Delaware River, the former home for the tour until tragedy struck.  Now, the city is saying the operator cannot use the Schuylkill River.
A Ride the Ducks boat on the Delaware River, the former home for the tour until tragedy struck. Now, the city is saying the operator cannot use the Schuylkill River.

Mayor Nutter today announced that the city will not award a contract to the amphibious tour company Ride the Ducks to operate on the Schuylkill River.

“The City has fully reviewed Ride the Ducks proposal for the Schuylkill River and does not feel that it meets the City’s standards for operations,” said Nutter in a press release.

Back in October, the city announced that Ride the Ducks would be moving to the Schuylkill in March. The boats, which previously toured the Delaware River, have not been in operation since a July 7 accident in which two tourists were killed.

Not long after that announcement, the city said it was legally required to permit a competitive bidding process. Ride The Ducks was the only bidder for the contract.

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The prospect of moving the boats to the Schuylkill has met with substantial opposition in the surrounding neighborhoods. In today's announcement, Managing Director Rich Negrin said the city was concerned about the impact on traffic and how the tours could operate during special events.

On July 7, a duck boat with 37 people on board was hit by a city-owned sludge barge being pushed by a tugboat operated by a private contractor. The duck boat capsized, and two Hungarian tourists were killed.

For more details, here's the press release from the Mayor's Office:

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA DOES NOT AWARD CONTRACT FOR AMPHIBIOUS TOURS ON THE SCHUYLKILL RIVER

Philadelphia, January 25, 2011 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that the City of Philadelphia will not award a contract in response to its request for proposal (RFP) for an amphibious tour on the Schuylkill River.

“The City has fully reviewed Ride the Ducks proposal for the Schuylkill River and does not feel that it meets the City’s standards for operations,” said Mayor Nutter.

An RFP was issued on November 19, 2010 for Amphibious Tours on the Schuylkill River. The Managing Director’s Office, Parks and Recreation, the Office of Transportation and the Law Department carefully crafted that RFP to capture many community concerns, including noise, traffic, the on Schuylkill Banks and other potential disruptions of recreational uses on the River. Responses were due on December 22, 2010. Ride the Ducks submitted the only response

Managing Director Richard Negrin said, “We appreciate Ride the Ducks efforts to address community concerns, but when all is said and done the proposal’s potential traffic impact, the number of vessels that could be on the river at one time and the inability for the tours to operate during special events were issues with which the City was uncomfortable.”

A technical review committee consisting of representatives of the Managing Director’s Office, Office of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, Office of Economic Opportunity, Commerce Department and Planning Commission, with input from Finance, Law and Risk Management, unanimously recommended that the contract not be awarded.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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