Island Ferries has announced it will enter the next phase of a process to get a berth at the Vancouver SeaBus terminal.
The ferry company, which aims to start up a passenger service between Nanaimo and Vancouver this summer, posted on social media last week that TransLink has advised it has accepted a response to a request for information process and a negotiating phase will begin shortly. Island Ferries also said it has been authorized to expand work to include direct discussions with Port Metro Vancouver staff.
“This is great news and a major step forward,” the post said.
TransLink previously told the News Bulletin it’s exploring the possibility of hosting private ferry and water taxi operators for service between its SeaBus terminal in downtown Vancouver and Victoria, Nanaimo and the Sunshine Coast.
TransLink has not confirmed that there are negotiations nor what vendors responded to its request for information on berth options for the South SeaBus Terminal that closed Jan. 5.
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“The [request for information] process is now complete and there is no plan for a subsequent [request for proposal],” said Translink in an e-mail statement. “The next phase includes an invitational process to gather additional details of the offerings. We don’t have an established timeline, however, we do hope to move the process as quickly as possible.”
David Marshall, Island Ferries’ director of operations, said Island Ferries was advised a few days ago that it was among proposals accepted and was told the next stage would be due-diligence questions on detailed operations and financials, “and that, that is essentially the start of the negotiation process.”
He said Island Ferries is pleased, not surprised, TransLink has got to this stage and hopes the negotiation goes fairly quickly. Without a berth in Vancouver, he said there is no ferry service.