V2V Vacations, the passenger ferry service running between downtown Victoria and downtown Vancouver, announced Monday that it is shutting down.
In a statement on its website, V2V Vacations said it will not resume operations in 2020. People who have purchased tickets have been promised refunds.
The company said financial prospects are not good enough for it to continue. Its 242-seat catamaran, the V2V Empress, will remain docked in its home port of Victoria; what will happen to the vessel is unclear.
Company officials could not be immediately reached on Monday night.
Tourism consultant Frank Bourree said he is saddened by the announcement. “I’m not really surprised but I am disappointed,” said Bourree. “It’s unfortunate we can’t have a service like that, but there is just not the volume to sustain the luxury market.”
He said V2V made an initial mistake by sailing from Victoria at the start of the day, when it should have started off from Vancouver. Then problems with its vessel in its first year cost the company a lot of credibility.
But Bourree gave V2V full marks for making a determined business effort, putting in at least $10 million before calling it quits.
V2V, owned by Riverside Marine Group of Australia, offered passenger service from March to October for the past three years.
The 3-1/2 hour trip was first billed as a service for tourists with comfortable seats, fantastic views and great food. One-way tickets ranged from $120 to $240 when it started in May 2017.
But after three months, the catamaran was sidelined by mechanical problems and a new engine had to be installed.
The vessel had been built in 1995 and was refurbished for the new role.
In 2019, the company announced it would look beyond the luxury tourist market and pitched its service to local travellers with savings offered to B.C. residents
For information on obtaining refunds, go online to v2vvacations.com
Read the original story from the Times Colonist here.