Thursday, March 10, 2011

Victoria Express stops sailings between Victoria-Port Angeles

Black Ball Ferry Line, based in Port Angeles, WA, announced last week the purchase of Victoria Rapid Transit's operations. Victoria Rapid Transit, formed in 1990 by the Harmon family, has been shuttling passengers aboard the Victoria Express between Victoria and Port Angeles for more than 20 years. In 2004, they added scheduled service to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in 2004.

Following its winter break, Victoria Rapid Transit will focus on launching its new Explorer Series of tours. The tours will be offered under the name of Expeditions NW and focus on the ecology and culture of the region with adventure and eco-tours out of Port Angeles. Destinations include the islands, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Victoria. Their first scheduled trip is a day cruise to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival on April 16, 2011. Let's hope the tulips are in bloom!

The 149-passenger Victoria Express will be one of the tour vessels of Expeditions NW, and not resume scheduled service between Port Angeles and Victoria. Black Ball Ferry Line's MV Coho will now be the connection between the two cities/countries. Read more about Victoria losing this seasonal connection in the Times Colonist and Peninsula Daily News.

The MV Coho provides year-round car and walk-on ferry service between Port Angeles and downtown Victoria. It offers up to eight daily sailings during the summer season. Both companies have collaborated over the years to promote both Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island, along with resolving issues that impact tourism, such as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

The MV Coho in Victoria's Inner Harbour as seen from The Fairmont Empress Hotel. Photo by Sue Frause.