Barges pulled from River Walk after decades downtown

Barges pulled from River Walk

After decades along the River Walk, Rio San Antonio’s iconic barges are being replaced with electric boats. The company ends its tours Saturday, before Go Rio takes over Sunday.

Go Rio recently signed a roughly $100 million contract with the city for the next 10 years. The company will bring in new colorful boats and replace the barges that have floated the river for years.

"We already did the Alamo,” said one tourist. “So we are doing the typical tourist stuff."

Floating through downtown has become a staple event for tourists visiting San Antonio. The old design was created nearly 50 years-ago for the 1968 HemisFair. Some tourists we spoke with like the old barges, while others think it’s time for change.

"They look alright,” said one tourist. “I don't know why they're getting rid of them."

“They look like they need a new paint job,” said another tourist.

Go Rio will have 26 multi-colored boats hit the water Oct. 1, with 43 expected by December. All of the boats will have different designs and colors and run on electricity instead of gas. The cost of each individual boat is roughly $151,000.

“We anticipate there’s going to be a lot of interest,” said Lisa Wong from Go Rio. “We haven’t had a new boat on the River Walk in 50 years. They're eco-friendly, they're green and they're much quieter."

Many of the old tour guides were re-hired by the new company. Ticket prices are expected to increase for General Admission from $10 to $12. However, discounts will still exist for local residents, military members, children and seniors.

"I'm sorry we're leaving tomorrow,” said one tourist. “I'd love to take a ride on the new boats.”

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