Another new high-speed ferry service could directly link downtown Vancouver and Victoria Inner Harbour as part of Victoria Clipper’s expansion plans following the majority acquisition of the 30-year-old Seattle-based company by a German private ferry operator.
FSR announced today that it had acquired ownership of Clipper Vacations, which operates high-speed ferry services from Victoria to Seattle and from Seattle to the San Juan Islands.
With the assistance of FSR’s resources, Clipper will add another route that connects Victoria with a new terminal hub in downtown Vancouver.
“This is an exciting day for Clipper, as we are thrilled to join forces with another industry leader,” said Merideth Tall, founder, CEO and Chair of Clipper, in a statement.
Another planned route made possible by the acquisition is a new service from Florida to Cuba, although that depends on government approval.
“FRS is a company that shares our values and our vision for travel and tourism in North America, and has long-term experience in markets around the world. Combining with FRS will allow us to expand our travel products and services to provide many more options for our customers that will now include Vancouver and Cuba.”
The new Clipper service will provide competition for the recently announced Riverside Marine high-speed service from Victoria Inner Harbour’s CPR Steamship Terminal Building to the piers in front of the West Building of the Vancouver Convention Centre. The Australian company has stated that it plans to launch the service in 2016 as an upscale tourist service rather than a commuter service.
A single three-hour-long trip on Riverside Marine’s catamaran service will cost $80. At this early stage of planning, no rate has been revealed for the Clipper service.
There are also plans by another company to launch a high-speed service between Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver, but it hit setbacks after an agreement with the Nanaimo Port Authority was terminated. There were plans to launch the service last year.
The planned and proposed high-speed ferry services are the latest attempts after a number of successive failed services over the past three decades. However, proponents believe there will be much more demand for such services this time given that there has been significant regional population growth, densification in downtown Vancouver, growth in the workforce, and improved transit services like the SkyTrain Canada Line, which is within a walking distance to the downtown ferry terminal.
The last time downtown Vancouver was serviced by a high-speed ferry service was more than a decade ago, with a route to Nanaimo.