May 5, 2003
Lake Michigan ferry service postponed
Grand Rapids, Mich., based LEF Corporation, parent company of Fast-Kat Ferry Services announced Friday that it had not succeeded in obtaining all the signed leasing agreements that would allow it to take possession of the "Catalina Jet" catamaran for use by a June start date. Without the availability of any other qualified fast ferry vessels for this year that meet the companies criteria on safety, speed, passenger capacity and size, LEF has decided to postpone its plans to begin ferry operation until the 2004 season.
LEF Corporation and its Fast-Kat Ferry Service Inc., division will be crediting and refunding all "PAXCARD" purchases. This refund will include all balances of cards and the initial $35 membership fee. The PAXCARD scheme offered substantial discounts on fares to those signing up for it.
"We are very disappointed that we could not get everything finalized in the timeline that we had anticipated for this season, but it does not change our overall plans of beginning a cross-lake ferry service, it just delays the start date until Spring of 2004," said Kevin Hritzkowin, CEO of Fast-Kat Ferry Services Inc. "We have appreciated the tremendous amount of support we have received from the city and county leaders at each of our ports, the communities, and of course the many Founding Member PAXCARD holders. We look forward to this continued support in the next 12 months as we ramp up for next season."
LEF Corporation had intended on starting a cross-lake ferry service this year with it's homeport in St. Joseph, Michigan and ports of call in both Chicago and Racine, Wisconsin. With this delay in service, LEF says it now has a year to purchase and/or lease available high-speed catamarans for next season, as well as additional time to work with local communities and states in promoting the cross-lake service.