CRD votes to recommend feasibility study for passenger ferry between Colwood and Victoria

CRD votes to recommend feasibility study for passenger ferry between Colwood and Victoria
The City of Colwood
What a passenger ferry could look like between Colwood and Victoria

The idea of a passenger ferry between Colwood and Victoria is one step closer to reality as the Capital Regional District (CRD) Transportation Committee votes to recommend a feasibility study about the project.

The CRD’s plan is to advocate for a full West Shore Ferry feasibility study to provide some clarity about whether it is a transportation solution the region should pursue.

The proposed passenger ferry would run from Royal Bay in Colwood into Victoria’s Ship Point.

“In a region surrounded by water, it would be irresponsible not to fully explore the feasibility of marine travel as one approach to addressing traffic congestion and achieving our active transportation and clean energy goals,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin, who has been a constant supporter of the idea.

In March 2019, BC Ferries published a pre-feasibility study that supported the feasibility and financial viability of a passenger ferry from Royal Bay to Victoria.

The study suggests a passenger ferry has the potential to reduce traffic congestion in the region while increasing transit ridership. It also says it would provide an alternative to single-occupancy vehicles, helping the region achieve its clean energy goals.

“The report suggests that a West Shore Express passenger ferry could take up to 1000 vehicles out of the commute and move about one million people a year between the West Shore and downtown Victoria,” said Mayor Rob Martin. “To put that number in perspective, the Sea Bus service in Vancouver carries about six million people each year.”

According to the pre-feasibility study, the service could be making money within its first year of operation. With two ferries running between Royal Bay and Ship Point at 30-minute intervals during peak times, and a fare price of $5.75, the service could generate $170,000 per year.

“At the same time, a unique new connection between the West Shore and downtown Victoria would support our region’s economic recovery and the rebound of the tourism industry as we move beyond the pandemic,” reads a statement from the city.

The recommendation to make a West Shore Passenger Ferry feasibility study an Advocacy Priority will go to the May 12, 2021 CRD Board meeting for consideration. With support from the Board, the next step will be to work with the Province and other partners to undertake the study.

READ MORE: B.C. willing to consider Colwood’s request for commuter ferry study

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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