Another point of view about ferryboats

Nowadays, people think a ferry is a romantic way to get over a river, but in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, people used to think otherwise.

A ferry ride
A ferry ride

For a great look back in time, watch “Bridge Ahoy“, a Popeye cartoon released on May 1, 1936. In it, Bluto overcharges passengers for rides on his ferry, so Popeye, Olive and Wimpy decide to build a bridge and let people cross the river for free.

You see, when you’re the only way to get across a river, you’ve got a monopoly. You control the market and set your own price. Before monopoly laws, it’s probably what happened with ferryboats, and it didn’t sit well with the cash-strapped folks of the mid-1930s. If we had only ferryboats to get across rivers nowadays, we’d no doubt share the same feelings.

Things worked out in the cartoon and the three delivered a bridge made to order. Everyone was happy except Bluto, the ferryboat owner, which was as expected.

Of course, if we carry this solution over to modern times, it breaks down right away. You see, we get charged to go over bridges nowadays. Kind of makes the point of building a bridge to avoid ferry tolls moot, doesn’t it?