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Imagine all the people … who would take a ferry from Sooke to Victoria — 77 Comments

    • I took that hovercraft across the channel once. It was a rough day and everyone, who didn’t have sea legs, was violently puking. We couldn’t go outside to escape the flying puke because there is no outer deck on a hovercraft because of the noise.

      Probably not a good idea for here…

  1. That would be great! Instead of many months or years of road construction! Spend that money on the ferry service. This would be so good for the Sooke economy too as those who take the ferry to Victoria will shop in their own community when they get home!

  2. It is a great idea…but the right vessel would have to be available…some very NAUTICAL seas can be experienced from Victoria past Race Rocks and around Sooke not to mention where the the `ferry` would dock or any parking space near shore…Sorry a long term plan would be needed.

  3. With proper planning I see it working. It would have to miss the fishers, whales and not stir up the bottom like the high speed one in Denmark.

  4. Bridges are the best option, really, and no waiting. (even if it had to be a toll bridge, it would be less expensive than the ferries charge. )

    • I’m new here so don’t know the geography well enough to answer that. I just know that bridges are soooooo much better than ferries, and of course construction of them doesn’t obstruct highways for a long time and then, there’s no waiting in parking lots for boats and big fees to ride, etc. etc. PEI is the best example of a bridge that totally works for travelers, and in the long run, doesn’t cost people as much as regular ferry service.

    • One thing I would add as a newcomer is that I don’t understand all the accidents on the Sooke road. To me, it’s just this beautiful winding drive and if you follow the rules of the road (and I know many people don’t), it’s a pleasant way to travel. I’ve had crazy impatient drivers behind me who are right in front of me at the first light in Sooke, so I do know what they’ve gained from all their impatience, except a lot of stress for themselves and others.

  5. Interesting idea. The initial investment would be $2.5 mil for a used small (150 pers max) High Speed Craft and building an appropriate dock would cost just as much as the vessel. So at start up would be at least $5 mil. Then the cost of running the vessel, crew, maintenance, etc. To make this work you’d need to charge roughly $10 – $15 per trip each way or somehow get the federal or provincial governments to subsidize it and convince 1000 to 1200 people per weekday to use it year round. There are smaller vessels with 40 pers max that cost about half as much at start up, but would with the smaller passenger volume would require to charge $30 – $40 per trip each way.

    So a small town such as Sooke is not yet big enough to support this type of transport.

  6. Great idea! Let’s get more ferries that don’t make a profit, hire more government employees and create more pension deficits. More debt, That’s how we build a better Canada.

  7. Let’s vote NDP, and buy the fast ferries back for the route. it’ll only cost a couple billion, and the commute will be longer, but I’m sure people will pay to use it.

    • *Snorts* an NDP crack? Really?? Are you a jaded closet Albertian or something? Most British Columbians have gotten over the fast ferries by now.
      Granted, it would take LOT of time for me to “get over it” if the current gang scar BC with a pipeline…like Id be burried first…

    • Once. Maybe twice till the novelty wore off. But I bet you’d drive here 100 times more than you’d go take a ferry. same as 99.9% of everyone else here =non feasible

  8. It would make for a great day trip excursion from Victoria for cruise ship people. We’d probably get a lot more tourist money.

  9. As soon as you create more government employee jobs and future pension deficits, the whole idea becomes non profitable. where would you purpose to put a dock in Sooke that is feasible. inside the Harbour is out without dredging. where ya gonna land in Victoria? Dumb idea as to commuting, but may be a nice tourist option, if it’s run by a private entrepreneur

    • Ferries of this nature are typically shallow draft. Building a dock in Sooke would be no more of a challenge than any other ferry dock that has been bulit in Victoria or Sydney to name but two examples.

    • Shallow Draft boats aren’t very safe in open waters. Victoria and Sydney aren’t comparable to the waters this route purposes. where in Victoria will these commuters be dropped and picked up?

  10. Would you get more passengers if you could do a stop in metchosin/Langford and/or esquimalt to be worth it and cut costs?

  11. What a wonderfully positive, idea unfortunately marred by comments from those that can only focus on the negative aspects of setting such a service up. The cost of setting up a ferry system and operating it is already an attractive alternative to a major road construction program from the 4 lanes to Sooke and that still wouldn’t help alleviate the Collwood crawl. To those that only see the downside to this idea I suggest they they offer a viable alternative before shooting down the ferry option!

    • James… You seem like a wonderfully positive, person unfortunately marred by a lack of common sense. To make a informed decision you must evaluate both the pros and cons and yes, there will be ‘negative aspects’ to whatever the solution is to the commuting issues we have in Sooke. Ignoring them doesn’t negate them.

    • I use the buss too, but people get intimidated by the infrequency of our busses (weekday mornings/afternoons aside). I moved here from Vic last fall & NOBODY will buss out here on the weekend cause they dont wanna get “trapped”; I lived in Langford 15 years ago – had the same problem there/then

  12. Sorry but this is not a viable commuter option. 19 nautical miles is roughly 3 less than the Coho runs from Victoria to Port Angeles. That is a 90 minute run. 150 passenger ferry would have a very difficult time getting in and out of the Sooke Harbour at any reasonable speed. There is a real reason why Sooke Harbour never became a major harbour for larger ships, the enterance is narrow and shallow, it is not the same as Victoria or Sydney.The fuel consumption alone would not make this a green option, except if you are talking about how green the passengers would feel in that shallow draft vessel James suggested. Talk to the fishers that make their livings in the strait about winter conditions.

    Between shore and ship crew you are likely looking at a minimum of 6 staff just to operate and if you plan to run it all day you will have to at least double that crew number. Even assuming you could actually do the trip in 30 minutes ( even in perfect conditions, Harbour speed controls and traffic makes this unlikely), with things like loading and unloading you would be hard pressed to get 2 trips in during peak travel times. This would have a minimal impact on road traffic. From a environmental and cost perspective it would make more sense to add an extra ten buses.

    There are great uses of commuter ferries around the world, but this is not a cost effective one. Look at the failure of the Dockyard ferry.

    So here is my crazy idea, how about a gondola system across esquimalt and Victoria harbour?

  13. I fear the number of days this ferry would have to be cancelled due to weather conditions would make it practically useless. As a marine search and rescue volunteer in Sooke, I’ve spent my fair share of days on the water and the seas around here can be nasty.

    Granted a ferry service would have to be larger than the vessels we operate in and could likely take the seas better, but cabin vessels are notoriously bad for seasickness, unless we are thinking a vessel 150′, then we have logical problems where to dock and board people.

    On a calm day at 30 knts we can get to Victoria in about 40 minutes. That does not take into consideration the preparing, slow transit out past Whiffin Spit and then the 7knt and 5 knt maximum transit in Victoria Harbour. Your trip, on an ideal day would take at least 60 minutes of actual on water and transiting time. Then consider ticket sales, boarding and off-loading. Now we are talking 1:30hr in reality. To go to Victoria?

    Any sea conditions like we experience would slow the vessel down considerably. Now we are talking even longer. What about all the fog we experience? 10knts all the way for safety?

    Safety would be a large part. You would need a captain and crew(s). Likely at the least 6-8 people employed on the vessel alone. The cost for tickets would be insanely expensive. You’d also need a spare vessel for maintenance or breakdowns.

    And a vessel that size if it broke down? Don’t call the local RCM-SAR. You would need a large tug or ship to tow that back to a safe port. Potential for emergencies would be high.

    And logistically where would people dock in Sooke? Prestige Hotel? Then Walk 2km up the road into Sooke with no sidewalks? Mariners Village is closer but the water is too shallow for a large boat. Dredging is not feasible. First Nations would not allow that.

    And I’m sorry to say but Sooke is not a shopping destination. I would be embaressed for tourists coming from Victoria thinking about a nice getaway sightseeing opportunity in Sooke. Walking on foot.

    How about a nice dockside restaurant and pub on the water they can enjoy a dinner or lunch. Oops. We don’t have that either.

    Walk to Adrenaline or the many beaches west which are accessible by Transit or walking.

    Tip. Don’t invest in A Sooke/Victoria Ferry.

    • I have. I love the idea of a Ferry. But I really don’t think it would be feasible. Now, you could always contact Sooke Coastal Explorations now and charter a trip from Sooke to Victoria and for rates that would probably be cheaper than a dedicated Ferry. 😀

    • Thanks for adding your experience to this discussion. A nice romantic idea, but not even remotely viable. There is no magic bullet to the transportation problem. There are a few practical things that can be done to build some basic emergency bypass routes on the couple of choke points. For the cost of the ferry, dozens of extra buses could be added. Do we really want to turn our precious shore into a parking lot?

    • Agreed, Lee. And the green concept I don’t really buy into. The 200L/hr of diesel fuel is conservative. Our jet vessel burns 70-100L/hr @30knts and it is 36′.

      The other thing to consider is really the emergency aspect of it. It is sparse between here and Victoria. You would NOT want to operate a passenger ferry 0.5nm off East Sooke Park in the event of a break down. Personally I would want to take that vessel at least 3nm off the shores and then make my way towards Victoria. This would allow sufficient time for a vessel large enough to tow it back to a safe port without having to worry about drifting into the rocks along East Sooke if she was dead in the water and drifitng and waiting for marine assistance.

      Also, many days the flags are up at the gun range on DND property off Race Rocks and you need to go around Race Rocks, not thru the pass.

      All this adds even more time to your trip as you are now heading farther out to sea and having to come back in.

    • Yes, the green thing. Based on your estimates of the time and distance and using the Clipper fuel consumption rate, we would be looking at around 1000 liter of fuel, one way which would be about 6.66 litres per passenger. A transit DD, even at 20L per 100km would run about 0.125 litre per person!!! for a Sooke to Victoria trip.

  14. Johnny Schmidt they do have a road in and out of sooke lol but it is constantly closed due to traffic accidents it would be good to have a second route in and out of the community and would also eleviate a lot of traffic from langford into the downtown core

  15. If you haven’t read the comment from Jason van der Valk, please do. I spent a career in the U.S. Coast Guard and now a volunteer, as he is, with RCM-SAR. It would be cheaper, safer, and quicker, to buy ten Chinook helicopters to ferry people back and forth then to operate a boat from Sooke to Victoria.

  16. Why can’t we make the galloping goose from Sooke light rail for commuting??? For all the bicycles riding Sooke road we obviously don’t need the goose ?

    • It WAS a railroad, which got turned into a path for I’d like to think plenty of reasons. I wouldnt want to bike Sooke Rd! Makes me wince and hover over the break every time I see cyclists wobbling right on the line while going up the hills. While I (earnistly) sympathize with their struggly up the hills, I sure wish they’d taken the Goose i stead, even though I wouldnt want to take such a huge detour either (have you ever looked at its route to Sooke? Its brutal)

  17. Useless. Get the friggin’ Galloping Goose going again! It’s already laid out, just needs a track and a train! Cheapest and most convenient option..?

  18. Why not have a water taxi service or small car ferry going from Sooke to Victoria?! New York has the Staten Island ferry and it has been in use for a long time!

  19. It certainly doesn’t help everyone…but…what if instead of changing this infrastructure system we looked at it the opposite way? Use government offices/HQs for example…they could rent space in Sooke and Langford (for much less than they pay in Victoria) and government workers could work in Sooke or Langford instead…eliminating some of the problem altogether. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but the ferry wouldn’t either…

  20. What a concept…to use the money that would be spent on upgrading our Sooke Road, and instead using that to put a ferry in place and possibly even create revenue???The problem is (and of course I am not aware of all of the mitigating factors) but when an idea makes so much sense to the community, the politicians don’t always see it that way.