We have been told that tours of Key West harbor by amphibian will be a part of daily life in Key West. That's odd because the city has recently forked out eight million dollars to an amphibian operator who was forced out of business by a city monopoly rule.
This new amphibian is parked at the roundhouse owned by Historic Tours of America on Flagler Avenue. It was the city's monopoly agreement with HTA that spelled the end of the previous operator's effort. HTA said it had the sole right to operate city tours. The courts disagreed and forced the city to settle. That ruling opened the city to other tour operators, but HTA has decided to try the amphibian tours itself now.
It's all rather cut throat and ironic in country that claims a level playing field and honest competition for core values. This little spat shows one more time that money talks and bullshit gets plowed under. A court response costs time and money.
It also continues to bode ill for a city with no vision, no planned development, no idea what it wants to be in twenty years. HTA clearly wants to do no more than milk the cow, but it's a pity our elected leaders can't come up with something more appealing than a future crowded with more and more clogging of the city by low end tourism.
PS. Earlier this week the Key West Citizen reported an employee out for a test drive in the Key West Harbor rammed the DUCK into reverse without stopping the transmission and stalled the amphibian in the water. SeaTow to the rescue! Some practice clearly will be required.
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