Harbour ferry ready to take over Blue Boat service

A private ferry will launch 6 a.m. Tuesday from military property in Colwood as the Blue Boat service sails into the sunset.

A private commuter ferry will launch 6 a.m. sharp Tuesday morning from military property in Colwood as the Blue Boat service sails into the sunset.

The Baseline ferry service will shuttle civilian and military Department of National Defence staff across Esquimalt harbour during morning and evening rush hours.

The 40-foot, 40 passenger boat Grey Selkie is scheduled to carry its first batch of customers on May 1 at 6 a.m. from the Colwood D jetty to Dockyard, offering a service similar to the Blue Boats. Grey Selkie will also stop at Naden during the day, timed to employee shift changes.

Barry Hobbis, owner of Victoria Harbour Ferry, which operates the Baseline, said he is happy to provide a shuttle service at a price comparable to bus transit. A one-way ride is $2.50.

“That (cost) works for us and we think it will work for the riders,” Hobbis said. “We worked with a number of individuals who ride the boats to ensure it’s affordable and it does what they need it to do. We tried to be careful and stay as close as reasonable with transit costs.”

CFB Esquimalt decided to end the Blue Boat shuttle, first reported by the Victoria News in early March, due to the struggle to find staff for the auxiliary fleet of tugs and fire boats. In operation since 1955, Blue Boats originally shipped personnel and equipment around base property in the harbour, but evolved into a popular, and free, commuter service.

About 400 military and civilian staff from the West Shore and Sooke used the ferry daily, and faced the prospect of joining the jam-packed Island Highway and Trans-Canada Highway starting May 1. Nearly 750 DND personnel responded to a survey supporting a private ferry.

“It appears to be a desired service. Many people told us point blank that they need it,” Hobbis said.

In past months, Baseline ferry staff and its boat have been undergoing security and safety certification to work within DND property. A second boat is expected to enter operation mid May.

“We had to jump through a number of hoops to meet the requirements of Her Majesty the Queen,” Hobbis said. “There was rigorous attention to detail. The base commander, Canex staff and our staff worked through it as an affective team.”

In early April, Colwood entrepreneur Cynthia Cummings moved to launch a “Blue Bus” service to transport DND personnel from Colwood to Dockyard, but that effort was cancelled in the wake of the ferry service.

“I endorse the ferry service 100 per cent,” said Cummings, who is now working with Hobbis on managing Baseline. “It makes sense to offer a service people already know.”

Hobbis said this DND ferry service could lay the groundwork for a civilian ferry between Colwood and Victoria, although a lot of peices would need to fall in place. “(A civilian ferry) not out of the scope of where we might go,” he said.

See victoriaharbourferry.com/baseline for times and prices of the Baseline ferry service. The service is open to DND personnel only who are authorized to access CFB Esquimalt property in Colwood. From May 1 to 4 the service is free.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

Pacific FC puts its best foot forward for inaugural game

Players ‘counting down’ to kick-off day

Rain with a high of 16 C for Tuesday

Plus your weekly forecast

Belmont students help West Shore residents spring out of hunger

Spring Out Of Hunger food drive takes place on April 24

Busy Tuesday for BC Ferries passengers

First sailings to and from Swartz Bay sold out

Crash impacts traffic on Veterans Memorial Parkway

Police on scene at VMP and Kelly Road

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Search on for two kayakers reported missing off Qualicum area

Rescue personnel currently scouring area in vicinity of Lasqueti Island

Child, 11, accidentally shot in chest by 13-year-old in southern Alberta: RCMP

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital Monday

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

PHOTOS: New commemorative loonie marks progress’ for LGBTQ2 people

But advocates say it mistakenly suggests equality has been achieved largely as a result of government actions

Man charged in fatal Salmon Arm church shooting to appear in court

Matrix Savage Gathergood charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault

RCMP looking to retrace steps of woman found dead on Kelowna beach

Caitlin Midori Bradley, a 29-year-old dancer at a Kelowna bar, was originally from Surrey

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Most Read