By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
OFFICIALS at Resorts World Bimini (RWB) have announced sweeping changes to the resort's transportation strategy, saying that its new multi-tiered "improved transportation initiative" will deliver "Bimini Bliss" to scores of guests quicker and more efficiently.
Lamenting the scope of the resort's former transit plan, executives on Friday proposed that its new initiative - which from Monday offers enhanced air service and halts the Bimini SuperFast ferry - will improve existing transportation options and allow guests to spend less time in transit and more time enjoying the resort’s new amenities.
Ed Farrell, the RWB President, said officials were pressed to introduce the new initiative ahead of the grand opening of the resort's 300-room luxury hotel scheduled for this spring.
The new initiative, characterised under the 'Break for Bimini' moniker, will reintroduce daily, non-stop commercial air services from mainland Florida to Bimini.
A statement released by the resort on Friday read: "Cape Air will be launching twice-daily seaplane flights to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on January 3, increasing to five-times daily by January 10 and with additional flights from Watson Island Seaplane Base in Miami. Silver Airways is currently operating three flights a week to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale and will be expanding to daily service beginning December 28."
As proposed, daily commercial flight services via Cape Air, Silver Airways and a luxury flight service offered by the resort will offer the capacity to transport nearly 500 guests to the island on a weekly basis.
In the past, resort guests depended on a ferry service - the Bimini SuperFast - that operated a three-hour transit between Bimini and mainland Florida.
Air services are projected to transport guests between the two points in roughly 20-minutes.
When introduced, the Bimini SuperFast was hailed a success as the island of Bimini suffered from a lack of commercial flight services.
"As a result of new, more expedient transportation options being available to all guests, operation of the Bimini SuperFast ferry will cease as of January 10, 2016. RWB is committed to continuing to provide ferry service for guests wishing to enjoy the trip via sea."
The resort will replace the SuperFast with a more efficient ferry operation in coming months. The improved ferry service is is expected to use the jetty recently completed by RWB and transit between the Port of Miami and Bimini.
In 2014 the Christie administration came under fire after the resort commenced a dredging excercise in its quest to construct a cruise ship terminal, 1,000 ft pier and man-made island.
The government then, in response to concerns raised, said the project would bring significant economic benefits to the country.