New ferry service takes travelers across river


by Brooke Hasch

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 1 at 6:41 PM

MADISON, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Lines at Madison's public boat dock are the new normal these days thanks to a new ferry service provided to locals.

"It's been an amazing response. People are in a hurry, trying to get back and forth to work and spending an extra hour and 45 minutes driving, where they had a normal three minutes across the bridge," Janet Harding, owner of Rockin' Thunder Jet Boat Ride, said.

Harding and her husband, Paul, run the business throughout the summer months, but decided to start early when the city of Madison called last month in need of help. The bridge connecting Madison, Ind. and Milton, Ky. shut down in March, after a worker was injured. Within the next few weeks, crews will be sliding the new steel bridge into place. Until then, the ferry is the fastest alternative.

"This is something I don't think any of us thought would be available and it's so nice to save not only gas, with prices, but with the long transportation and it's a great idea on their behalf and Madison appreciates it," Micah Downing, a Madison resident, said.

Residents may have a 15 minute wait or less, depending on the day, to hop aboard the boat which will take them across the Oho in about six minutes.

"We'll run rain or shine," Harding said.

Even on the sunniest of days, be prepared to get a bit wet.

"It's my first time and I got a bath, and I feel so clean!" a Trimble County resident laughed.

The boat holds six people at a time, all of whom must sign a waiver and zip up their life jackets for safety.

"We've had some lines, but everybody is more than happy to wait," Harding said.

"Everybody took the bridge for granted so much and it's such an artery to get back and forth, to be able to get to Kentucky easily," Downing said.

It's a much appreciated water-taxi service, free of charge, paid for by the city of Madison.

"This was neat, this was a good experience," Patrick Hill, a Trimble County resident, said.

You can catch a ride anytime between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the weekdays.