Vancouver to Nanaimo Ferry - A Better Idea
I am always looking for new business ideas, but the following
one, sent in by a subscriber to the Unusual Ways Newsletter,
is not only a decent concept for making money, but also just
plain a good idea for other reasons.
by Jim Eagles
4 million people travel by ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo
on Vancouver Island every year. 70% travel by car at an average
cost of $50 (for the car alone). But the biggest cost of traveling
by car is the amount of incremental time required to reach the
ferry, line up, and load. At peak times this can reach 2-3 hours
of quite unpleasant heavy traffic and waiting in line.
Traveling as a "foot" passenger has many advantages.
- Busses go to the ferry from several parts of the city. They
are comfortable and circumvent most of the traffic line-ups to
- There is at most a 5 minute line-up for foot passengers so
you can arrive 15 minutes before the boat leaves worry free.
- There is a major environmental saving to switch to foot from
car. Cars on the ferry are the limiting factor. To increase capacity
of the system you need more ferries, bigger ferries, more docking
capacity. Also of course, there is a major cost and impact of
the fuel used to move all those cars.
What I propose is to create a service where travelers could
park their car well outside the high traffic area, board a bus
to the ferry, ride as a foot passenger on the ferry, be picked
up by a bus at the destination, and be delivered to a car rental
agency at their destination.
The cost of the passenger is the same whether in a car or
on foot so these costs wash. Depending on time and distance traveled
the rental costs would have to be compared to the savings of
transporting the car which is $100 ($50 each way times 2). Shorter
trips where car rental costs are less than $100 would pay off
on a hard cost basis. But the big advantage is the reduced time
and anxiety associated with waiting and hoping that you will
get on the next ferry. Time wasted can be 2-3 hours at each end.
Depending on how you value your time this cost can be significant.
The environmental advantages are huge. The ferries carried 1.2
million cars last year on this route and used 115 million litres
of fuel on all its routes. A conversion of a percentage of car
passage to pedestrian would have a major impact.
Car rental is currently available at both ends of this route.
Bus access is good at the Vancouver end. But no one has packaged
this service and no one has promoted it. I believe there is a
significant opportunity here. Most Western airports now offer
a "Park and Fly" service so people understand the concept.
In your region it may not be a ferry service. It might be a commuter
service, a ski hill service, a sports event service. But chances
are there is some driving being done that is unpleasant and unnecessary.
Jim Eagles is currently working with...
Steve's Note: Though I am not familiar with the Vancouver
to Nanaimo route, I imagine there are those who take the ferry
regularly. For them a quick car rental service would probably
be possible, by keeping their information online and giving them
a card to quickly get a car. All-in-all the basic idea sounds
like a good one--let's hope someone gives it a try.
If you liked this page please let others know with one of
Want more ways to make and save money? Try my newsletter...
Full of useful information. Subscribe now...