CHICAGO (CBS) — Throughout the day tomorrow, you’ll be able to ride Wendella’s water taxis for free as the company celebrates the 50th anniversary of its downtown Chicago service.

“It’s awesome. It’s better than penicillin,” said Walter West, who rides the water taxi twice a day everyday.

He takes the train in from the suburbs and the water taxi from the Ogilvie Transportation Center to his job along Michigan Avenue.

“How awesome is it to start your day on the river! Take the train in, you get to be on the river. It’s incredible,” he said.

Wendella’s Craig Wenokur says the water taxi started plying the river in 1962.

“And the story goes that the Chicago Sun-Times sponsored a contest, a race between a water taxi, a CTA bus and a Yellow cab to see how quick you could get to Michigan Avenue from the train station. And we won. The service took off from there,” said Wenokur.

The service, which originally ran just during weekday rush periods, now operates 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It has four stops on its route, at the Ogilvie Transportation Center, Michigan and Wacker, LaSalle and Clark, and Chinatown.

Next year it plans to add a fifth stop at North Avenue.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports

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