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New Vancouver-Nanaimo ferry service announces pricing, launch timing

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The new passenger-only ferry service between Vancouver and Nanaimo, Hullo, has announced that it will begin operations this summer.

While an exact date wasn't announced Thursday, the company said it plans to begin operating in early August.

Sailings will be 70 minutes each way, and Hullo plans to launch with up to seven roundtrip sailings per day, the company said.

The first sailing will depart from Nanaimo at 6 a.m., and the last sailing will depart from Vancouver at 9:30 p.m., though Hullo says later sailings may be available for special events.

Hullo will launch with two ferries in its fleet that can carry 354 passengers each.

Passengers can purchase tickets for the ferries' three different tiers of seating: comfort, premium and business.

For adults, comfort-tier tickets will cost $39.99, premium tickets cost $49.99, and business tickets cost $59.99.

Separate prices are available for children and seniors. A full price breakdown can be viewed below:

June 8, 2023. (Hullo)Onboard Wi-Fi will be available for all passengers, and snacks can be purchased on each sailing.

Pets are allowed on the ferries, but they must remain in carriers on the laps of passengers. Bikes can also be brought onboard, but Hullo warns that only a limited number of bike parking spaces will be available, and they must be reserved for a fee.

Ferries will depart from downtown Nanaimo at the Nanaimo Port Authority, located at 100 Port Dr., while sailings from Vancouver will depart from the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre at Burrard Landing, located at 1055 Canada Pl.

Hullo's two ferries were given the hul’q’umi’num’ names, spuhéls and sthuqi’.

Spuhéls (spah–els) means wind, and sthuqi’ (sta–key) means sockeye salmon, according to the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

"We honour these vessels by bringing forward our connection with the sockeye salmon and the wind," said Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief Mike Wyse in a release Thursday.

"We remember our kinship with them and how we respect our sacred relationship," he said. "The vessels’ names are an example of how we can also honour our way of being together as partners."

The announcement comes about a week after BC Ferries said it would be altering service between Metro Vancouver and Nanaimo.

BC Ferries is relocating one of its ferries from the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route to the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route to relieve some of the traffic congestion at the Horseshoe Bay terminal. 

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