A new passenger ferry service is available starting Aug. 4 in New Westminster.

The Q to Q ferry travels from a dock below the Inn at the Quay to the Port Royal public dock in Queensborough. 

The boat can accommodate 40 people and four bicycles and the trip takes five minutes.

New Westminster city councillor and acting mayor Patrick Johnstone says the service will help connect the Queensborough and downtown New Westminster neighbourhoods. 

"We thought, if you can create a five minute connection between where lots of people are and sort of the downtown of New Westminster where a lot of services are, people would really take advantage of that. It would make both neighbourhoods work better," said Johnstone.

"If we can create a reliable cycling and pedestrian connection right along the river, it's sort of a missing link on what is becoming a well established series of trails along the north side of the Fraser River."

Q to Q ferry New Westminster

The five minute ferry ride goes from a dock below the Inn at the Quay to the Port Royal public dock in Queensborough. (City of New Westminster)

The service will run until Sept. 24 and operates on Friday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays. 

Fares are $2 for adults, $1 for seniors and youth and free for children under five. 

Exact change is needed or tokens can be purchased at the Anvil Centre, Queensborough Community Centre, or Tre Galli Gelato CaffĂ© by the River Market.  

Q to Q ferry dock New Westminster

The pilot project runs until Sept. 24, 2017. After that, staff will consider the viability of the service or look at another option like a pedestrian bridge. (City of New Westminster)

Johnstone says the city researched the idea of connecting Queensborough and the Quay with a pedestrian bridge instead of a ferry, but, without a partner, it was a very expensive option. 

He says the Q to Q project costs add up to about $130,000, including operation and infrastructure expenses. 

"The idea behind this pilot is to sort of shake down the idea of the ferry service and figure out what the challenges are and to decide whether there's an appetite in the community to have that ferry service," said Johnstone. 

He says while the ferry service does have some issues, like limited hours, or not being accessible to wheelchairs and scooters, city staff will examine these issues along with other data, following the conclusion of the pilot and look at long-term solutions.