Ridership on the Q to Q ferry is currently one-third to one-half of what it is in the summertime.
A recent staff report to council provided an update on the ferry pilot project and plans to upgrade the Port Royal dock. The report states the city is developing a business case to outline how to extend the service beyond a pilot project and to continue it for at least the next five years.
“In-depth analysis of weekly ridership and weather effects show that the majority of the reduction occurs during weekdays, regardless of weather impacts,” said the report. “This implies that fall and winter commuting patterns have a greater effect on ridership than forecast rain.”
According to the report, the weekday ridership levels are stabilizing at 120 trips per day, on average, which is about one-third of summer levels. The ferry’s highest ridership is still on weekends and holidays, when there are about 300 trips daily during good weather and about 200 trips on rainy days, which is about one-half of summer levels.
“The next phase of monitoring ridership is to complete a holistic review of the ridership levels, understanding the demographics and usage by the community,” said the report. “Further ridership data, results from an online questionnaire and follow-up with the operators will aid in the understanding and evaluating the sustainability of the ferry service level.”
As for the dock in Queensborough, the City of New Westminster is currently reviewing “other suitable locations for terminal improvements,” including working with Aragon Properties about incorporating a ferry dock it its proposed marina development just north of the current Port Royal dock. This comes after the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority reviewed an application for proposed ferry terminal improvements and didn’t support them because of potential navigation risks with an adjacent tenant.
Two 12-person water taxis are currently transporting passengers between the Quay and Queensborough neighbourhoods daily. The Q to Q operates every 20 minutes between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m. and noon and 7 p.m. (Monday to Thursday), 6 and 9 a.m. and noon and 8 p.m. (Friday) and 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekends and statutory holidays.
The city launched the ferry service in the summer of 2017, after plans to build a pedestrian and cyclist connection between Queensborough the Quay were shelved because it was going to cost significantly more than original anticipated.