Greater Victoria Harbour Authority Unveils 2016 Plans

January 12, 2016

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VICTORIA – For the past several months, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) staff have been actively working with key stakeholders to derive a series of initiatives that take into account social, economic, and environmental components surrounding transportation options for cruise ship passengers and crew transiting to and from Ogden Point.

GVHA CEO Ian Robertson, along with management staff, has committed to consistent and constant engagement with provincial government representatives, the City of Victoria, cruise lines, stakeholders and operators, and the residents of James Bay to successfully implement changes for the 2016 year, while working on medium and long-term strategies for further improvements to ground transportation to and from Ogden Point.

In June 2015, GVHA staff hired Dillon Consulting to engage with the board of directors, staff, and key stakeholders to develop a reasonable and achievable strategy for all elements of ground transportation, including motorized and non-motorized transportation.

The resulting report identified a number of ground transportation elements and proposed a set of short, medium, and long-term action items, built around the areas for GVHA to consider along with partners and stakeholders These areas include logistics, way finding, and fee structures for vendors and tour operators who service passengers.

Taking into account the Dillon Consulting report and engagement and feedback from all stakeholders, the proposed action items for the 2016 cruise ground transportation operations include:

  • Improvements around permit requirements and safety & inspection considerations in concert with stakeholders.
  • Furthering discussions around designated vehicle routing with the City of Victoria, the residents of James Bay and other stakeholders.
  • Evaluate options for improvements to the walkability and way finding measures, in partnership with the City of Victoria and operators, to and from Ogden Point including pedestrian signage, biking and bike rentals, and walking tours.
  • Explore new technology in an effort to modernize bus fleets, including the pilot of the allelectric GreenPower bus.
  • Introducing new fee structures to encourage modernization of transportation options and analysis of the fee model moving forward.

Victoria’s dynamic cruise tourism industry contributes more than $100 million annually to the regional economy, adding vibrancy and life to Victoria in the summer months along. GVHA is fully engaged to evaluate and work with partners, stakeholders, and the community to make the necessary short and long term changes that will see this industry and the associated benefits, and transportation challenges, work within the fabric of our city.

  • Highlights for 2016:
    • EVC550 Double Decker Bus
      • As part of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s (GVHA) upcoming Ground Transportation Strategy, GVHA and CVS Cruise Victoria Ltd (CVS Tours) entered into a lease agreement with GreenPower Motor Company Inc. to pilot a fully electric EVC550 double decker bus for oneyear commencing in April 2016.
      • The pilot program will evaluate the feasibility of electric bus transportation for the cruise tourism industry. The focus will be on cost of operations compared to conventional diesel buses, emission reduction, noise reduction and charging station requirements. The bus will be in operation to service shore excursions for cruise ship passengers, for the 2016 cruise season from April to October, to destinations such as Butchart Gardens and Butterfly Gardens.
    • The 2016 Cruise Ship Season
      • The 2016 season kicks off on April 3, with the arrival of the Star Princess and concludes on October 28, welcoming 228 ships. The full 2016 cruise ship schedule is available online at
      • As part of the 2016 season, the largest cruise ship ever on the Alaskan route, Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas, will make 21 calls to Ogden Point. The Explorer will be the first Voyager-class cruise ship to make regular stops in Victoria when it calls weekly throughout the 2016 cruise season. The Explorer replaces the Jewel of the Seas on Royal Caribbean’s weekly Seattle to Alaska route and has a capacity of 3,100 guests. At more than 1,000 feet long and nearly 158 feet wide, the Explorer of the Seas will make history as the largest cruise ship ever to sail the Alaska cruise theatre, and is the largest cruise ship calling weekly to any Canadian port of call.
      • Arriving at 8 a.m. and departing at 6 p.m. every Thursday, the Explorer of the Seas will have 19 calls throughout the season, and is expected to generate an additional $1.3 million in direct guest spending throughout the capital region as well as additional direct and indirect economic benefits.
    • Changes to Projected Arrivals for the 2017 Cruise Ship Season
      • While it was anticipated that Norwegian Cruise Lines would introduce a Breakaway Class ship to the Alaskan cruise ship schedule in 2017, the company recently announced a shift to their upcoming schedules, resulting in a revised projection for the required bus services at Ogden Point. Forecast highway coach bus requirements to meet projected shore tour activities were originally set to increase from 52 in 2016 to 71 in 2017, but this recent announcement will result in revised projections for the coming years.
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