Commuters boarded the Albion Ferry for its last run Friday. ((CBC))

After 52 years on the Fraser River, the Albion Ferry made its final voyage Friday afternoon.

The two Albion ferries have been a significant commuter link between Fort Langley and Maple Ridge, saving a lengthy roundabout drive through Surrey and Coquitlam to cross the Fraser River over the Port Mann Bridge.

But the service became obsolete with the opening of the $800-million Golden Ears Bridge on June 16.

Along the pier, Jack Stafford, 62, played what he calls the Albion Ferry blues on his saxophone as the ferry left Fort Langley for the last time Friday.

He said the two boats, the Kulleet and the Klatawa, would be missed.

"Sad to see it go, but progress is progress, I guess," he said

Blair Fulton joined other motorcyclists to take their last journey across the river.

"It's beautiful for us on the bikes to come across here and it's gonna be a sad day. A part of history is gonna be gone but it's time."

Maple Ridge resident Maria Hupfuan, who has been using the ferry for 35 years, said it would forever link generations of her family.

"It meant family. It belonged to us, it belonged to the family."


Dave Miller says the Albion Ferry means a lot to the community. ((CBC))

Dave Miller, the president and CEO of Fraser River Marine Transportation, the company that operates the Albion Ferry, had tears in his eyes as he spoke of the final run.

"I've been here for 20 years. It's been a huge part of my life. I've met so many wonderful people down here — crew, passengers, everybody — they've just been wonderful and I'm really going to miss them," he said.

"It's meant an awful lot to the community. You can tell by our patrons over the years."

The Albion Ferry has been running since June 3, 1957.

Recent figures show the two boats carried an estimated 1.5 million vehicles and four million passengers annually.

With files from the Canadian Press