We all know the wait times for ferries are often horrific.
But that might be changing in Nanaimo.
BC Ferries’s newest competitor will feature two new boats on a new route from the Island to the mainland.
Vancouver Island Ferry Service has branded its new service “Hullo,” and it’s set to change the game.
Their boats are a fancy upgrade in more ways than one.
They finally have free Wifi. Blessings from above. How long have we been waiting on that one?!
Also, unlike BC ferries, they’ve introduced a class divide.
(Weird flex, but ok.)
Each ship seats up to 354 seated passengers, but guests can reserve either comfort (economy), premium (whatever that means) or business (first class) seats for their trip.
One thing that will stay the same is a range of what they call “treats” for sale on board, but whether this includes an iconic Whitespot food selection has yet to be announced.
The route they’ll be taking is the biggest news. Ferrying straight from Nanaimo to Downtown Vancouver, it will be ideal for walk-on passengers heading to the big city for concerts or day trips.
It could also open up opportunities for those seeking work on the mainland, as the commute could be much more feasible than the usual trek out from Tswassen.
So when do they start?
The boats are still being tested in the Damen Group shipyard in Vietnam.
“The vessels are built and going through rigorous sea trials and the terminal areas are in the process of being upgraded to welcome our guests,” said Alastair Caddick, CEO of VIFC, in a statement.
They’re set to make the journey to the Island in May.
The complete details for Hullo — including fare rates, sailing schedules, and amenities — will be released in early June, before the start of service in late Summer 2023.
A one-way trip between downtown Van and downtown Nanaimo will take 70 minutes. This saves half an hour on the usual 100 minutes it takes to get to Horseshoe Bay – plus the driving time to get downtown.
They say it is set to operate with seven roundtrip sailing per day.
“After carefully listening to the needs and expectations of British Columbians, we are thrilled to provide a service that strengthens connections between friends and family on both sides of the Georgia Strait,” said VIFS.
Yes to connections, and double yes to not spending the whole day waiting on a ferry.