Harbour Ferry Company Launches Taxi Service

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Getting around Victoria’s waterfront just got a lot more convenient, and scenic, thanks to a new water taxi service launched Thursday, May 26, by Victoria Harbour Ferry Co.

H2O Taxi offers residents an efficient, affordable solution to all their downtown and waterfront travel needs, be it the daily commute, shopping, or an evening out on the town.

“Not only does H2O offer locals a hassle-free transportation experience, but it’s a truly unique way for them to experience their city,” says Barry Hobbis, Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. vice-president of operations.

Hobbis was accompanied at the launch of the service by Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, Victoria acting Mayor Marianne Alto, and Downtown Victoria Business Association general manager Ken Kelly.

Hobbis says the introduction of the new service is in response to growing customer demand for direct point-to-point service between the ferry company’s 17 stops around the harbour, as opposed to the original hop-on, hop-off scheduled service. Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. also offers harbour and Gorge Waterway tours.

{advertisement} “The increase in residential and business developments in the downtown core and Inner Harbour areas is helping to drive our growth,” adds Hobbis.

He says the number of one-way trips has increased by 45 per cent over the past three years. Census data reveals that the number of people living in central Victoria and Esquimalt increased by 6 per cent between 2006 and 2010.

“My partners and I are quite excited about this project,” says Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. president Nick Samsom. “We believe there are growing numbers of people looking for a green, convenient transportation alternative to connect to work, shopping, and entertainment.”

Two re-branded harbour ferries — dubbed H2 Otter and H2 Orca — were christened Thursday, May 26, following the announcement of the new service. Their yellow-and-black checkered livery bears a resemblance to Manhattan’s famous medallion cabs. One-way fares will cost as little as $5, with prices increasing by $5 for each zone a taxi passenger passes through on the way to his or destination (there are four zones in total). Unlimited annual passes are available for $100.

Local establishments around the harbour hope to benefit from what the new service offers their patrons. It is a “big advantage for people and makes it easier to plan an outing,” says Bill Lang, owner of the Princess Mary Café at West Bay Marina. “It’s a new option that restaurants and other businesses around the harbour can promote to customers.”

Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. was founded in 1990 with just two vessels. Today it operates a fleet of 14 small, 12-passenger ferries and one 40-passenger vessel, and has served more than 2.5 million customers since its establishment. The ferries can travel efficiently at speeds up to 7 knots (12.5 km/h). All ferry captains are Transport Canada-certifed.

For more information, visit www.h2otaxi.com.