Employees at CFB Esquimalt are anticipating even more parking headaches next week, as the only marine shuttle service between the West Shore and the base terminates its service.
The Baseline Ferry makes its last trip between Colwood and CFB Esquimalt on Friday afternoon (April 19). The daily privately run service began last year to replace the base’s Blue Boat service.
Barry Hobbis, vice-president of operations at Victoria Harbour Ferry Co., was unavailable for comment, but the company website blames declining ridership numbers for its inability to continue the service.
“The real gong show will be begin on Friday,” said Mark Miller, vice president of the B.C Union of National Defence Employees.
“We had a labour management meeting yesterday, and they told us 200 people a day use this ferry. So that means another 200 vehicles are going to be added to the Colwood crawl.”
The recent closure of the Craigflower bridge has added another layer of congestion to a bottleneck commute each day, Miller added.
To help relieve traffic, the base may create dedicated carpool parking, he said, adding public transit options from the West Shore to the base need to be improved.
“There’s such a love affair with vehicles and we have to break that somehow,” he said.
At its peak, the Blue Boat service was attracting 800 passengers daily, but budgetary restrictions and aging ferries spelled the end for the service last April.
Baseline ferry has been operating since June 2012 and cost $5 for a return trip.