British Columbia

Private passenger ferry between Vancouver and Victoria cancels all future sailings

A private company running a passenger ferry shuttle service between Vancouver and Victoria has announced there will be no more sailings, effective immediately.

Passengers who have bought tickets will be reimbursed, says company

The V2V Empress carried travellers from Vancouver to Victoria in about three hours. (V2V Vacations)

A private company running a passenger ferry shuttle service between Vancouver and Victoria has announced there will be no more sailings, effective immediately. 

The luxury transportation company, V2V Vacations, owned by an Australian marine company, launched three years ago in 2017. It had offered daily sailings between March and October, in a self-described "premium cruise experience" between the two downtown cores.

Julian Wright, the general manager for the company, said the ferry service was not able to break even fast enough.

"Unfortunately whilst we had some wonderful financial gains last year ... and wonderful guest feedback on the product, [the board] saw it as not enough of a gain or an improvement in position to justify continued investment in the service," Wright told host Kathryn Marlow on CBC's All Points West

The service had faltered soon after opening in 2017, when its ship ran into mechanical problems. The catamaran then spent several months on blocks in a Victoria shipyard waiting for new engines.

The decision to close down comes despite double-digit growth in passenger numbers last year, according to Wright.

The sailings had originally been marketed as a tourist experience but, starting in 2019, B.C. residents were given a discount on the sailings. 

Wright said part of the problem was people weren't aware of the service. 

"I think that we were just getting just getting to a point where people could name us and knew what we did and were very familiar with the product. Unfortunately that just wasn't fast enough," he said. 

He said the company is not planning on returning, and thanked their local business partners for their support over the past few years.

"If it was purely on our emotion or our sentiment for investing in this business, we would be here for forever and a day," he said. 

Travellers who have already bought tickets for next season will be reimbursed, the company confirmed. Further details on reimbursement are available on their website: v2vvacations.com

With files from All Points West

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