In the summer of 2023, the Vancouver Island Ferry Company (VIFC) will connect the people of Nanaimo to the mainland with two high-speed catamaran ferries.
The new ferry service will skip the Tsawwassen to Vancouver commute because the ferry will go from downtown to downtown between the Nanaimo Port Authority Terminal and the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre (at the Vancouver Convention Centre).
VIFC claims their sailings will provide commuters with reliable sailings taking only 70 minutes, start to finish, refreshments onboard and it will provide reservable seats.
“Islanders and Mainlanders have been asking for a modern, fast and cost-effective way to travel between the Island and Vancouver,” said Alastair Caddick, CEO of Vancouver Island Ferry Company.
“We are so excited to be bringing forward an essential transportation service to the region and are committed to its long-term success.”
“We can not wait to welcome guests aboard in Summer 2023.”
VIFC has been cooperating and collaborating with the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Nanaimo Port Authority and Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre throughout the process of setting up shop on Vancouver Island.
“The creation of the Vancouver Island Ferry Company in Snuneymuxw territory provides amazing employment opportunities, diversifies the economy and ultimately brings people to this beautiful community to play and live,” said Bill Yoachim, (Acting) Chief of Snuneymuxw First Nation.
“We are truly excited for people to come and learn about the Snuneymuxw people, territory, and our culture.”
VIFC and the people of Nanaimo hope this fast ferry service will bring economic opportunities and tourism to the city from the mainland.
“This service means increased economic activity and easier access to everything that is important to all of us,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.
“It means business and commerce can flow smoothly across the Salish sea—which is good for Nanaimo, good for Vancouver Island and a really important step in securing a prosperous future for all of us.”
VIFC’s inaugural fleet consists of two Dutch made vessels, each with the capacity to carry 350 passengers.
According to VIFC, more details about launch plans, sailing schedules, and fare prices will be shared in early 2023.
A similar ferry company called V2V attempted to serve the people of Victoria a downtown to downtown ferry option.
V2V was an Australian-owned company who operated for three years beginning in 2017.
The Australian company’s vessels only had a capacity for 242 passengers, so the new service will be able to accommodate more travellers than their predecessor.
V2V struggled to keep consistent sailings due to its luxurious nature. Ticket prices were too much and people opted to travel with the more affordable BC Ferries instead.
After a few short months of operation, they switched gears in how they provided service to their customers by pivoting from a luxury ferry to be able to accommodate more travellers.
Just prior to the 2020, V2V ceased all operations and left their vessels docked in Victoria’s inner harbour, where they remain now.