Channel Cat opens for the season

The summer mainstay took its first riders over the holiday weekend

MOLINE, Ill. - MetroLink's Channel Cat is back up and running for the season.

The popular water taxi wrapped up its opening weekend Sunday. 

It was a record season in 2016 with almost 44,000 riders, and this year could be just as good. 

The Channel Cat is a summer staple in the Quad Cities: In three of them, to be exact. 

The Channel Cat made its first stops in Moline, Bettendorf, and Davenport over the long weekend. 

Port Captain Barry Masterson says the weather contributed to the turnout. 

"Well you know, once the sun came out, once the fog disappeared and the sun came out we had some nice crowds and everyone came out," Masterson said. 

It was a great way for tourists Tony and Brooklyn Holland to see the Quad Cities from the middle of the river. 

"Today is our last day here, and she wanted to go into Iowa... We've seen the boat, and we just thought maybe that'd be nice to get on the boat and go on the Mississippi River," Tony Holland said. 

Riding the Channel Cat isn't necessarily a fast way to get across the river. It's about an hour long round trip. But people who ride it say it's a much more relaxing way to get across the river. 

"It's so relaxing. It's nice and cool and the air is good. It's just fun to see all the different things that there are to do in the area," said Cindy Bradford, who's new to the Quad City area. 

Masterson says the water taxi offers a different view of the quad cities. That's why it's so popular even for locals looking to get away for a while. 

"Travel by water. You get the unique perspective of seeing the land from a different type of view. You get to see it from a boat moving along, and when you get to Lindsay Park, say in East Davenport, you have a destination to visit," Masterson said. 

You can ride the Channel Cat every day through Labor Day weekend. 

After that, it only runs Saturday and Sunday through October. 

This weekend, the John Deere Commons stop on the Channel Cat route is closed due to flooding. 

It should be back open once the river recedes. 

 


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