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Free Ikea Water Taxi Rides (for Non-Customers) Are Sunk

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Just last week, there were reports of how many Red Hook residents and others were enjoying the opportunity to get to and from the neighborhood courtesy of the Ikea Shuttles and, to a lesser extent, the free Ikea Water Taxi. Some residents were even using the Water Taxi to commute back and forth to work. An Ikea spokesperson was quoted saying the retailer was "thrilled" to be providing transportation to and from the neighborhood. Not any more. Yesterday, reports started pouring in of people in Manhattan getting their hands stamped and of being required to produce a handstamp or store receipt for the trip back to Manhattan and of everyone else being asked to cough up $6. The photo above even came into the inbox via an odd route from someone visiting Spain who had gotten it from someone in Red Hook.

One tipster reported:

there have been rumours going around red hook recently that the ikea water taxi would soon only be free for ikea customers (in spite of ikea being quoted everywhere as not minding non-customers riding their water taxi.) I took the water taxi to work this morning from red hook (and, no, i am not an ikea customer): water taxi personnel informed me that the ikea water taxi staff are already officially supposed to be checking for store-receipts / ink stamps when you board on the red hook side - they are just giving us a grace period until they actual charge non-customers for tickets (in other words, people boarding the taxi from the manhattan side get their wrist stamped - if you don't have a stamp or a store receipt/blue bag when you board on the red hook side, you get charged the $6 fair). sigh.Another tipster, who has been using the Water Taxi with some frequency in the Golden Era of Free Red Hook Rides emailed to say:IKEA/Water Taxi employees were stamping hands of IKEA-bound passengers as they left Pier 11 this afternoon. Security on the IKEA side of the route confirmed that this was an initial attempt to make the Water Taxi "customer only," and said that you could not return to Manhattan without a stamped hand. He also said that they had abandoned their efforts, because people were confused, and complained about insufficient signage regarding this new policy.What, the handwritten sign wasn't enough? Now the questions become: What of the very popular free shuttle buses? And, will Red Hook people just be allowed to pay the fare?
· Forget the B61, Red Hook Now Has 'Free Car Service' [Curbed]
· Full Ikea Coverage [Racked]