By summer 2023 passengers will be able to walk onto a ship in downtown Vancouver and walk off in downtown Nanaimo.
The Vancouver Island Ferry Company (VIFC), just launched in 2022, is launching its first route in 2023 between the two cities. Sailings will go between Vancouver's harbour flight centre by the convention centre and the Nanaimo Port Authority Terminal in the city's core.
Crossings are expected to take 70 minutes from dock to dock; VIFC promises an "easier" experience crossing over to the Island.
"Islanders and Mainlanders have been asking for a modern, fast and cost-effective way to travel between the Island and Vancouver. We are so excited to be bringing forward an essential transportation service to the region and are committed to its long-term success," says VIFC CEO Alastair Caddick in a press release.
VIFC, based in Nanaimo, has bought two new high-speed catamarans from the Damen Group. They hold 350 passengers.
Ticket costs haven't been announced yet, but VIFC does note the ships can be split into different classes. On the company's website, they note they are targetting commuters along with short-term travellers.
Over the years multiple ferry services have tried offering direct passenger service from downtown Vancouver to Vancouver Island. Recently V2V offered daily luxury trips from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria. It launched in 2017 with 3.5-hour trips over to the province's capital; the service folded in 2020..