EDITORIAL: West Shore ferry service would allow commuters to leave gridlock in their wake

A new study promises new hope for those stranded each morning on the Colwood Crawl.

A pre-feasibility study from SNC Lavalin weighs the costs and benefits of a new high-speed passenger-only ferry service between the West Shore and downtown Victoria. The study looks at three potential BC Ferries terminals at Royal Bay, Esquimalt and Ship Point at a cost of $41 million. That price drops to $31 million without the stop in Esquimalt, which is found to have a poor business case for a terminal. The total cost for the project including the ferries is $95,600,000. Labour costs are expected to come in at about $7 million a year.

READ MORE: BC Ferries considers passenger only ferry between West Shore and Victoria

Proposed prices for the service between West Shore to the Inner Harbour range anywhere from $2.50 to $5.75 for the half-hour trip that could accommodate 294 passengers. That is a small price to pay for many of those left fuming for over an hour as they make their daily commute from the West Shore into downtown Victoria.

And the attraction of leaving the car behind is sure to make a dent in the number of cars on Victoria roads. The study – which looks at a fast-catamaran that can travel at speeds of 25 knots even in high seas – anticipates 3,100 passengers in its first year, growing to 4,000 by 2038.

The mayors of Colwood and Esquimalt are already on board with the plan, and the provincial government needs to take the proposal seriously. To move ahead, a full feasibility study would be needed, which requires about $1 million in provincial funding.

READ MORE: Colwood, Esquimalt mayors support potential passenger commuter ferry

The province is expected to wrap up work on the McKenzie interchange in the fall. That project carried a pricetag of $85 million,which coincidentally represents the estimated total cost of the ferry service without an Esquimalt terminal. And a valid argument could be made that the passenger ferry could have an equal impact on traffic congestion.

Governments at all levels must explore all options to get more cars off the roads in our major centres. There is no doubt the public demand is there, with plenty of commuters more than ready to leave the rush-hour gridlock in their wake.

Just Posted

VicPD catches impaired driver near elementary school

Citizens alerted police to driver near James Bay Community School

Victoria’s Belfry Theatre hosts its first ‘relaxed performance’ for a diverse audience

Performance of Every Brilliant Thing is first to pilot the option

Car crash at Quadra and Finalyson Streets affects Saturday traffic

VicPD and the Victoria Fire Department responded

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read