The Victoria Clipper — a ferry service that operates between the Capital Region and Seattle, Washington — has announced that it will be suspending service until next year.
In a message posted on the company’s website, it suggests that the company has halted operations due to a lack of ridership.
“The late summer surge of the Delta COVID-19 variant, stringent PCR testing restrictions for Canadian marine border entry, continued U.S. border closure and deficit of shoulder season rider demand are all cited as contributing factors to the suspension of service,” reads a statement from the Victoria Clipper.
The Victoria Clipper resumed service only a few weeks ago in the middle of September after shutting down operations due to COVID-19.
The first boat arrived in Victoria’s Inner Harbour on September 17 after 18 months of suspended service.
Although service had resumed between Seattle and Victoria, operations looked a little bit different than during pre-pandemic days.
In accordance with Transport Canada’s federal regulations, all U.S. citizens and permanent Canadian residents residing in the U.S. transiting to Canada are required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arriving in Canada for non-essential travel.
Service also resumed on a four-day weekend schedule and riders had to show a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival.
Fully vaccinated travellers who meet the requirements are exempt from quarantine; however, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.
“We knew that it would be a challenge to re-launch our international fast ferry service heading into shoulder season and given the current ongoing circumstances and travel repercussions of the pandemic,” said David Gudgel, CEO of FRS Clipper. “Nonetheless, we needed to test the market and unfortunately the 72-hour PCR test requirement prior to arrival into Canada proved to be a significant barrier to travel for many of our guests. Stopping fall and winter operations now is our only choice and we look forward to returning to service in spring 2022.”
While vaccinated U.S. citizens can visit Canada, the American border currently remains closed to international travel and is only open to permanent residents and essential workers.
The company says it will keep its website regularly updated with information regarding when bookings will be accepted once again for 2022 travel.