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Author Topic: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10  (Read 1515 times)

captkirk_4

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2018, 08:37:51 AM »

The price per journey is incredibly high though, isn't it?   That's always put me off any thought of ever using it.


A family of four with a car round trip is nearly $500.  And it takes four hours.  I'm sure the experience is cool for a bit, but four hours is a long time IMO.  (It is shorter than driving if those are your final destinations however.)

The same family on the Lake Express is going to cost about $630 for two and a half hours.
Wow that's insane, it would be easier going up over the Mackinaw Bridge. The southern route is really terrible traffic.
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paulthemapguy

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2018, 09:36:58 AM »

The price per journey is incredibly high though, isn't it?   That's always put me off any thought of ever using it.


A family of four with a car round trip is nearly $500.  And it takes four hours.  I'm sure the experience is cool for a bit, but four hours is a long time IMO.  (It is shorter than driving if those are your final destinations however.)

The same family on the Lake Express is going to cost about $630 for two and a half hours.
Wow that's insane, it would be easier going up over the Mackinaw Bridge. The southern route is really terrible traffic.

That's probably why they figured they could gouge people.  I wonder what a similar 4-hour trip would cost on a ferry in a state with lots of them, say Washington or Alaska.  I think the SS Badger knew what their market competitors were (i.e. driving around Lake Michigan to the south or north) and determined their pricing based on that, rather than, oh I don't know, covering costs with a small margin for profit like most businesses.  I'm sure their prices would be much lower if there was a second competing ferry company in the same area (Milwaukee-Muskegon isn't really the same area).
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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2018, 02:17:10 PM »

The price per journey is incredibly high though, isn't it?   That's always put me off any thought of ever using it.


A family of four with a car round trip is nearly $500.  And it takes four hours.  I'm sure the experience is cool for a bit, but four hours is a long time IMO.  (It is shorter than driving if those are your final destinations however.)

The same family on the Lake Express is going to cost about $630 for two and a half hours.
Wow that's insane, it would be easier going up over the Mackinaw Bridge. The southern route is really terrible traffic.

It doesn't really make sense to take the Badger carferry if you're going to or coming from a place other than the middle of Wisconsin or Michigan. If you're coming from the southwest or southeast (eg Iowa or Cleveland) then the southern route is the best option. If you're coming from the northwest (eg the Twin Cities), then taking the northern route might be a better option if you want less traffic, but then again most route maps suggest taking the Lake Express ferry instead of the Badger, simply because the trip only takes 2.5 hours instead of 4.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2018, 02:28:03 PM »

The price per journey is incredibly high though, isn't it?   That's always put me off any thought of ever using it.


A family of four with a car round trip is nearly $500.  And it takes four hours.  I'm sure the experience is cool for a bit, but four hours is a long time IMO.  (It is shorter than driving if those are your final destinations however.)

The same family on the Lake Express is going to cost about $630 for two and a half hours.
Wow that's insane, it would be easier going up over the Mackinaw Bridge. The southern route is really terrible traffic.

That's probably why they figured they could gouge people.  I wonder what a similar 4-hour trip would cost on a ferry in a state with lots of them, say Washington or Alaska.  I think the SS Badger knew what their market competitors were (i.e. driving around Lake Michigan to the south or north) and determined their pricing based on that, rather than, oh I don't know, covering costs with a small margin for profit like most businesses.  I'm sure their prices would be much lower if there was a second competing ferry company in the same area (Milwaukee-Muskegon isn't really the same area).


Actually most businesses will charge whatever the market will pay to maximize their revenues.  If SS Badger is so profitable, other players can enter the market.  But I don't think it is nearly as profitable as you are portraying.

jzn110 has the correct take on this.  It's mostly used for tourism.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2018, 02:29:01 PM »

The price per journey is incredibly high though, isn't it?   That's always put me off any thought of ever using it.


A family of four with a car round trip is nearly $500.  And it takes four hours.  I'm sure the experience is cool for a bit, but four hours is a long time IMO.  (It is shorter than driving if those are your final destinations however.)

The same family on the Lake Express is going to cost about $630 for two and a half hours.
Wow that's insane, it would be easier going up over the Mackinaw Bridge. The southern route is really terrible traffic.


Only if you hit at the wrong time of day.  (Morning or evening rush.)  Otherwise, the Bridge is so far east that it isn't really a viable option.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2018, 03:20:44 PM »

I assume it costs a lot of money to keep that old boat moving with its antiquated, coal-powered boiler.  Lots of specialized maintenance.

I've traveled both ferries a couple times.  Soooooo much more relaxing than driving through the rat race in Chicago.  Yeah it was expensive, but how much is your sanity worth?
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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2018, 03:43:59 PM »

I've traveled both ferries a couple times.  Soooooo much more relaxing than driving through the rat race in Chicago.  Yeah it was expensive, but how much is your sanity worth?
I found it easy enough to get from our home on the North Side to my in-laws’ house in Holland and back, provided we left at the right time of day. Now that they live in Valparaiso, life is much simpler.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2018, 03:48:30 PM »

It's a different drive when one is already used to the madness.
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oscar

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2018, 04:06:05 PM »

I could probably get a discount since I have a relative in high places there, but the fact that they don't let you park your car yourself (and apparently don't allow access to it during the trip) is a major turn-off for me.

No vehicle access while underway is standard practice for larger vessels with separate vehicle and passenger decks. On really long journeys (like the six-day trip from Washington state to Homer AK), there will be occasional opportunities for supervised trips down to your vehicle to walk your dogs, etc. (no pets allowed on the passenger deck), as well as brief visits while the ship is in port. But "no parking your own car on the vehicle deck" is definitely unusual.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 04:15:16 PM by oscar »
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Flint1979

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #34 on: September 25, 2018, 05:15:18 PM »

The price per journey is incredibly high though, isn't it?   That's always put me off any thought of ever using it.


A family of four with a car round trip is nearly $500.  And it takes four hours.  I'm sure the experience is cool for a bit, but four hours is a long time IMO.  (It is shorter than driving if those are your final destinations however.)

The same family on the Lake Express is going to cost about $630 for two and a half hours.
Wow that's insane, it would be easier going up over the Mackinaw Bridge. The southern route is really terrible traffic.
Not really, going over the Mackinac Bridge from Ludington to Manitowoc is going to take around 8 and a half hours (515 miles). Going through Chicago it's going to take you around 6 and a half hours (419 miles). Taking the ferry is going to take you around 3 hours and 40 minutes (62.5 miles and you don't use any gas or put any miles on your car) but yes it's expensive.
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GaryV

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2018, 06:16:07 PM »

And don't forget the Chief Wawatam, the black-smoke belching railroad ferry that was still running across the Straits of Mackinac in the 1960's and 70's, possibly as late as 1984.  It was cut down to a barge, and you would sometimes see it carrying rolls of steel from the Algoma Steel (now owned by Essar) plant in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.  The Chief was scrapped in 2009, after 98 total years of service.
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jzn110

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2018, 11:59:20 PM »

Actually most businesses will charge whatever the market will pay to maximize their revenues.  If SS Badger is so profitable, other players can enter the market.  But I don't think it is nearly as profitable as you are portraying.

jzn110 has the correct take on this.  It's mostly used for tourism.

I assume it costs a lot of money to keep that old boat moving with its antiquated, coal-powered boiler.  Lots of specialized maintenance.

If maximizing profitability was the Badger's primary concern, they'd have converted the engines years ago, possibly even to diesel, but instead they're keeping the coal-fired engines going for their historical significance. They even invested a large amount of money a couple years ago into a system that safely contains the coal ash onboard the ship to be disposed of in port so that the ship could remain in compliance with the EPA (ash was previously just dumped overboard as it was cleaned out of the boilers).

That said, both the Badger and the Lake Express are profitable operations, but neither discloses what their profits actually are for competitive reasons.
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kphoger

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #37 on: September 26, 2018, 09:51:51 AM »

For the trivia minded.

In 1977 after nearly 3 months of sub-freezing weather, the lower portion of Lake Michigan froze over.  All 60 miles from Chicago over to the Michigan side.

On a dare, a man drove his car out onto the ice on the Michigan side and drove across the lake. People in the Chicago high rises started calling the police that there was a car coming into town from the lake side.  As he pulled up into Grant Park, the CPD arrested him.

On what charge?  Driving off-road in the park?  Go up to the northern states, and you'll see ice fishers driving on frozen lakes all over the place.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #38 on: September 26, 2018, 05:58:57 PM »

For the trivia minded.

In 1977 after nearly 3 months of sub-freezing weather, the lower portion of Lake Michigan froze over.  All 60 miles from Chicago over to the Michigan side.

On a dare, a man drove his car out onto the ice on the Michigan side and drove across the lake. People in the Chicago high rises started calling the police that there was a car coming into town from the lake side.  As he pulled up into Grant Park, the CPD arrested him.

On what charge?  Driving off-road in the park?  Go up to the northern states, and you'll see ice fishers driving on frozen lakes all over the place.

Can confirm. I saw people ice fishing on Lake Michigan when I lived in Manitowoc.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #39 on: September 27, 2018, 05:11:20 PM »

You ain't really lived in the upper midwest until you've driven on a frozen lake.
I do it pretty much every winter.  Of course, I go ice fishing so I have a reason to.
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edwaleni

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Re: Lake Michigan Carferry (SS Badger) as part of US 10
« Reply #40 on: October 06, 2018, 02:33:03 PM »

For the trivia minded.

In 1977 after nearly 3 months of sub-freezing weather, the lower portion of Lake Michigan froze over.  All 60 miles from Chicago over to the Michigan side.

On a dare, a man drove his car out onto the ice on the Michigan side and drove across the lake. People in the Chicago high rises started calling the police that there was a car coming into town from the lake side.  As he pulled up into Grant Park, the CPD arrested him.

On what charge?  Driving off-road in the park?  Go up to the northern states, and you'll see ice fishers driving on frozen lakes all over the place.

I can't remember the specific charges. 

Most of them were marine based if memory serves

- no boating license
- no marine registration
- vehicle in a public Parkway

The states attorney got in an argument about it because they couldn't decide to prosecute him under marine laws or motor vehicle.

Coast Guard didn't press any federal waterway violations because in their mind he was never waterborne.

I can't remember how it finished legally, I think he had to pay some fine.
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