Originally Posted by WarrenC12
You guys who love the passenger ferry idea should start a company. Maybe you'll succeed where others have failed.
I'll give you a point of reference.
The Victoria Clipper costs 93.50USD to take from Waterfront Seattle to Waterfront Victoria in one direction.
Comfort-wise, it's worse than BC Ferries (16.25$) and Amtrak Cascades (typically a low of 40$ but can go up past 60$ without prior reservation.) But saves a lot more time, since a full circuit involves a 5 hour trip on the train, plus another 2 hour trip to BC Ferries Tsawwassen via Skytrain/bus. 7 additional hours to save 20$, not worth it
The comfort level of the Victoria Clipper is better than an airplane and bus however.
Consider how much your time is worth. An Airplane from Seattle to Victoria is 330$ one day in advance, one way, and takes 45 minutes (but 2 hours of waiting in lines.) Compare to the Victoria Clipper which takes... 2 hours and 45 minutes. The only problem is that it only runs once per day.
By comparison, to get from Vancouver to Victoria:
175$ one day in advance, one way by Air (From YVR)
205$ one day in advance, one way by Harbor Air (from Vancouver Waterfront)
16.25$ at the gate, one way, by BC Ferries.
People may complain that BC Ferries is expensive, but it's a bargain compared to flying. And yes BC Ferries has a more "Luxury-class" feel to it.
Comparing the Black Ball line or the Washington State ferries for completeness:
17.50USD, at the gate, one way, on the Coho by Black Ball line (Port Angeles, don't even ask how to get there from Seattle, it's impossible to make the trip in the same day.) Departs once or twice per day, or sometimes never (like right now.) 90 minute trip.
19.05USD, at the gate, one way, WSDOT, 2 hours 40 minutes. Sidney (near BC Ferries)/Anacortes (Not possible to make a passenger-only same-day trip from Seattle to Sidney on the Washington State Ferries utilizing only the transit system.)
Once you take a car into consideration:
WSDOT - 23.50 to 34.05(peak), no reservation available.
Black Ball - 62.00USD (72$ if reservation made online)
BC Ferries - 69.50CAD (88$ CAD if reservation made online)
So if you could find a way to operate a passenger-only ferry:
It would need to charge less than BC Ferries 16.25 to justify using it over BC Ferries, even taking into account the 5$ it might cost to 3-zone travel to get there.
It would need to take less than 95 minutes to justify using it instead of BC Ferries.
If you're trying to make it an alternative to flying, you would need to still figure out how to make the trip closer to 45 minutes, but you could then charge a much higher fare, but you'd have much less trips.
And this is why I believe nobody ever tries to do this. It just does not make economical sense to run a passenger-only ferry when BC Ferries already operates the cheapest passenger rate. Saving 2 hours on a bus just to have the terminus somewhere near Vancouver's waterfront would require a high level of passengers, and would still require some place to dock in downtown Victoria to make it worth doing, otherwise people would be getting off in Sidney and still have to take a series of buses to get downtown.
The fact that the Canada Line goes to YVR, actually would justify moving the main Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay route to YVR. As this would cut the sailing distance down.
And this has gone off topic.
If you're coming from the Fraser Valley to take a ferry without driving, you're going to take whatever is there. People who take transit might not be poor or cheapskates, they just don't want to drive, and there is a certain level of tolerance people will put up with to make the trip.
Just to push the idea back, there is a not a population base to support high speed rail to the Fraser Valley. But this is the only way you're not going to spend a huge amount of time trying to get to the Island. As much as people like Malcom like to whine about the Skytrain, it is the only rapid transit we have. Having the Fraser Valley Express is one step in the right direction, if it has low-use, then don't ever expect a rail line.