Victoria Clipper suspends fast ferry service until spring 2022
The Victoria Clipper announced Monday that its fast ferry service will be suspended until spring 2022, due in part to complicated rules for travelers and low ridership numbers.
The FRS Clipper is an international fast ferry service between Seattle and Victoria, B.C. After being suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, it had just restarted service on Sept. 17, 2021. Due to a lack of ridership, however, the company has now decided to again stop operations.
“The late summer surge of the Delta COVID-19 variant, stringent PCR testing requirements for Canadian marine border entry, continued U.S. border closure and deficit of shoulder season rider demand are all cited as contributing factors to the suspension of service,” the Clipper’s website states.
The Victoria Clipper V vessel, which holds 525 passengers, had been operating on a four-day schedule over weekends.
To travel into Canada, all U.S. citizens and permanent Canadian residents residing in the United States are required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arriving in Canada for non-essential travel. Travelers must also submit a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of arrival. The U.S. border, however, remains closed to all Canadians for non-essential travel until at least Oct. 21.
“We knew that it would be a challenge to re-launch our international fast ferry service heading into shoulder season and given the current ongoing circumstances and travel repercussions of the pandemic,” said David Gudgel, CEO of FRS Clipper, in a statement on the company’s website. “Nonetheless, we needed to test the market and unfortunately the 72-hour PCR test requirement prior to arrival into Canada proved to be a significant barrier to travel for many of our guests. Stopping fall and winter operations now is our only choice and we look forward to returning to service in spring 2022.”
Guests booked with the FRS Clipper will be offered a refund or discounted tickets when service resumes.