A new private passenger ferry between downtown Victoria and Vancouver could, if approved, begin operations as early as 2016.

Australian-based Riverside Marine announced this week they intend to run a vessel carrying about 300 passengers from the CPR Steamship Terminal in Victoria to downtown Vancouver. 

The cost per passenger would be $80 one way for a trip along the familiar B.C. Ferries route that would last about three hours.

"It will be an experience more than a high-speed journey," said Riverside Marine CEO Hume Kenneth Campbell.

"We want to not only go through the area but interpret what we are seeing."

Riverside Marine runs a variety of marine operations in Australia, including car and passenger ferries, fast ferries, and charter ferries.

The company has submitted an application to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority asking to lease space in the CPR Steamship Terminal.

Won't compete with BC Ferries

Harbour authority CEO Ian Robertson said the service would not compete with B.C. Ferries, but cater to those who would consider taking a helicopter or seaplane to the island.

"It's a service that appeals to those higher-end travellers, which is good news for tourism in Victoria because that means they'll be coming here with money to spend," he said.

Robertson said he believes the service will succeed where previous attempts failed because the route is billed more as an experience than point-to-point transportation.

Ocean Networks Canada, which operates two cabled ocean observatories, has also submitted a proposal to operate a public outreach and visitor education centre in the Steamship Terminal.

There are other vessels that run out of Victoria's harbour. 

The Clipper carries passengers to downtown Seattle, and whale-watching company Prince of Whales offers one-way connections to Vancouver and Seattle, as well as full day tours that include travel between Victoria and Vancouver.

To hear Greater Vancouver Harbour Authority CEO Ian Robertson speak on All Points West, listen to the audio labelled: Harbour authority CEO on new private ferry route

With files from Idil Mussa and Monica Martinez