New fast ferry service from Nanaimo to Vancouver will begin in August, the operator has announced.
In a social media post Thursday, June 8, Hullo Ferries stated that sailings for the 354-seat vessels would begin in early August and announced fare structures as well. Sailings will take approximately 70 minutes.
Three packages are available for travellers, according to Hullo Ferries’ website, with a basic package including reserved seating and complimentary wireless internet at $40 for adults and $20 for children. Discounts will also be available for seniors and infants.
The premium package includes free seat selection, high-speed wifi, access to the upper deck, a USB charging station and priority disembarking. Fares are $50 for adults and seniors and $30 for children.
The business package has all of the amenities of the premium package, plus a snack and beverage. Fares are $60 for adults and seniors and $40 for children.
There are 264 seats for the basic tier, 60 premimum seats and 30 business seats available for each sailing, Hullo said in the release, as well as four wheelchair-accessible spots.
Reservations can be booked 90 days in advance. Hullo Ferries is also offering one first-time sailing discount for each account.
There will be up to seven daily round trips with the first sailing leaving the Port Drive terminal in Nanaimo at 6 a.m. and the last leaving 7:30 p.m. The first sailing from Canada Place in Vancouver departs 8 a.m. and the last at 9:30 p.m, according to the website. No other times were announced.
Pets, such as cats and small dogs, are allowed onboard at no charge but must be in a pet carrier. The total weight can’t exceed 22 pounds (10 kilograms), including the carrier.
Bikes can be brought on board, but must be booked online prior to sailing, due to limited space. E-bikes and electric scooters are not permitted due to federal regulations.
The vessels are named spuhéls (spah-els) and sthuqi’ (sta-key), the Hul’q’uminum’ terms for wind and sockeye salmon, respectively, reflecting Snuneymuxw First Nation culture, a press release stated.
Mike Wyse, Snuneymuxw chief, said the ferries’ names honour the connection with the environment.
“We remember our kinship with them and how we respect our sacred relationship,” he stated in the press release. “The vessels’ names are an example of how we can also honour our way of being together as partners.”
Rupesh Amin, Vancouver Island Ferry Company co-founder, said the company is “committed to honouring the lands and waterways of the Snuneymuxw speaking people.”
The Regional District of Nanaimo is working with Hullo Ferries on bus service to and from the ferry terminal, with the RDN board scheduled to vote on the transit service request at its Tuesday, June 13 meeting. Should approval be given, B.C. Transit and RDN will plan public consultation, said Darren Marshall, RDN senior manager of transportation services, in an e-mail.
Hullo Ferries announced on June 2 that the vessels had departed Vietnam.
For more information, visit www.hullo.com.