The cruisers provide a tourist-oriented public transportation service along The Woodlands Waterway and are operated by Brazos Transit District. However, an interlocal agreement with Brazos Transit District is set to expire March 31, at which time Waco River Charters will take over operations.
The Woodlands CVB issued a request for expressions of interest in November to gain input from private contractors and service providers interested in taking over the cruiser operations. The service has averaged 33,985 riders a year for the past five years.
Waco River Charters co-owner Michael Wilson said his group—which operates a similar service in Waco—wants to make the cruisers more of an amenity rather than just a public transportation option.
“There’s a draw beyond just getting from point A to point B,” he said. “I think being on the water holds a special place for a lot of people. It’s a neat way to see the community.”
Co-owner Lisa Spitz said she would love to plan a variety of private events on the cruisers. According to The Woodlands CVB, the group plans to enhance the existing service of the cruisers by expanding public and private events that could include lunch cruises, conference and convention activities, and other celebrations.
“There are 68 restaurants along the Waterway for us to partner with,” Spitz said. “I can see doing something every night as far as a sunset cruise or happy hour. I could see [setting up] packages and promot[ions] with other venues in the area.”