Commuter ferry trial - Metro US

Commuter ferry trial

Commuters looking for a way to avoid gridlock on the Lion’s Gate Bridge should circle Nov. 17 on their calendars.

That’s the day Coastal Link Ferries will start chartering passengers between West Vancouver’s Ambleside pier and downtown Vancouver.

“We’re getting a lot of positive response and a lot of excitement,” said Coastal Link owner Ihab Shaker.

He said he was ready to start the six-month trial project Nov. 2, but the City of West Vancouver needed time to outfit the Ambleside dock with new lights, rails and non-slip surfaces.

While the project is backed by West Vancouver city council, Shaker said the true test will be whether people actually use the ferry.

“This is an un-subsidized operation, so we’re not receiving any kind of funding,” he said. “As much as we’re excited and very happy, we have to also make business sense out of it.”

Coastal Link would be interested in expanding service to Jericho and Port Moody if the West Vancouver trial proves successful, Shaker said.

Shaker promised that potential passengers won’t get stuck with an overly chatty ferry captain.

“If you are a regular commuter using the boat every day, it’s the last thing you’d want to hear,” Shaker joked.

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