Orange County, in partnership with Dutchess County and the cities of Newburgh and Beacon, has reached an agreement with The Hudson River Maritime Museum to utilize the Solaris, a solar-powered tour boat, for trips on the Hudson River this fall.
The Solaris will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, and Sunday, Sept. 29, and again on Saturday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 20.
$2 fare, first-come, first-serve
The boat will run every hour, leaving the Newburgh Washington Street Boat Launch (2 Washington St.). It will depart Beacon from the Beacon Institute Dock, located on the Beacon waterfront by the MetroNorth Train Station, every half-hour.
Fares will be $2 each way, exact change only. The rides will be first-come, first-serve.
“The Solaris is the only solar-powered boat in operation on the Hudson River and provides an eco-friendly option for transportation," Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said in the press release detailing the arrangement. "I encourage everyone to enjoy the great experiences we have to offer along the scenic Hudson and this is a great way to do that.”
The Solaris can travel up to 50 miles at night without the use of solar panels. Even on cloudy days, the solar panels are so efficient that they continue to power the batteries.
The tour boat can accommodate up to 28 passengers and does not require fossil fuels to operate.
At the moment, an experimental service
Alexandra Church, the City of Newburgh’s Director of Planning and Development, said she hopes the service will encourage people on both sides of the river to discover more about their neighbors and communities across the way, just a 20-minute ride from each coast.
While there is a commuter ferry operated by the MTA during rush hour weekdays, this experimental service will provide weekend connectivity.
The Solaris service will help determine whether there is enough interest and traffic for a more regular service.
Other benefits of increased service include both cities will attract more regional tourism, it will allow for easier transport for local residents to access strong job markets and entertainment, and it will build innovative relations between the cities of Beacon and Newburgh.
Funding for the initiative was provided by Orange and Dutchess counties.