A trial commuter ferry service from Boston’s North Station to the Seaport District isn’t expected to launch until late summer.

The latest timetable is driven by bid preparations for construction of new $1.3 million public dock at Lovejoy Wharf, said Rich McGuinness, deputy director for waterfront planning at the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Developer Related Beal is paying for part of the project as public benefits for 131 Beverly, a new luxury condominium tower that was recently completed.

Related Beal is responsible for issuing a request for bids for the dock fabrication and installation, McGuinness said. That’s expected to take place this spring, with the dock’s completion projected for late summer.

The trial service – with ferries making the trip to Fan Pier in approximately 13 minutes – was originally projected to launch in fall 2017. Related Beal committed to pay $794,000 and a $500,000 grant from Massachusetts Department of Transportation will cover the rest of the dock project, McGuinness said. The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority will oversee the trial service operation, which will be partially funded by corporate subsidies.

Transit serves only one-fifth of the rush hour trips from North Station to the Seaport, according to the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan released in 2015. Some large Seaport employers, including Vertex Pharmaceuticals, already sponsor private shuttles from North Station because of the absence of direct subway routes and infrequent MBTA bus service.

A recent survey by Boston Harbor Now found strong demand for inner harbor ferry routes, with the goal of completing a business plan and launching a permanent service in 2019. A potential inner harbor circulator would serve such stops as  Logan Airport and Lewis Mall in East Boston, Lovejoy Wharf, the downtown waterfront, Charlestown Navy Yard, World Trade Center East and Fan Pier in the Seaport District. Funding sources would include passenger fares, subsidies from Seaport District employers and Chapter 91 payments by developers.

This article has been updated to reflect that 131 Beverly has completed construction.

Late Summer Launch Eyed for Seaport Ferry Service

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min