The Aquabus, also known as, Aquabus Ferries Ltd., is a privately owned and operated ferry service that provides commuter and sightseeing services to locations all along False Creek of central Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Aquabus started service in 1986.
The beginning of ferry service throughout False Creek occurred in the summer of 1979 when Brian and Laura Beesley began operating a tour and water taxi service around Granville Island and False Creek. The Aquabus Ferry Company was formed in 1986 by Jeff Pratt, the son of George Pratt who was a former partner at competitor Granville Island Ferries division False Creek Ferries. It has since grown along with the population surrounding False Creek. Four Benford designed ferries were in operation by EXPO 86 and the additional three plus a bicycle ferry, Cyquabus I, were in service by 1995. The heritage ferry, the Rainbow Hunter was built in 1950. As the City of Vancouver grew, Aquabus incorporated two more versatile and spacious bicycle ferries, the Cyquabus II and the "Cyquabus III" in 2003 and 2006. In the summer of 2008 one of the Benford ferries was converted to a fully electric propulsion system, and has been used as a test platform for Aquabus' exploration of alternative energy. In the spring of 2010 Aquabus acquired two new bicycle ferries, "Cyquabus IV" and "Cyquabus V" and sold the heritage vessel the "Rainbow Hunter".
The Aquabus Ferry Company fleet is currently composed of eleven vessels divided into two classes:
- Seven Traditional Aquabus vessels, designed specifically for this purpose by naval architect Jay Benford. These vessels run year round with a carrying capacity of twelve, plus one skipper. In 2008, "Aquabus IV" was converted to use an electric motor.
- Four Cyquabus Ferries, designed to accommodate those with bicycles, strollers, and wheelchairs, as well as regular passengers. The "Cyquabus I" was designed and assembled in 1995 by owner Jeff Pratt in his backyard from pieces made to his specifications by Aggressive Tube Bending of Burnaby, British Columbia. "Cyquabus I" was decommissioned in the Fall of 2010 following 15 years of service on False Creek as Aquabus' first bicycle ferry.
The Aquabus Ferry Company makes scheduled stops at the following locations:
- Hornby Street's south foot
- Granville Island next to the Arts Club Theatre
- David Lam Park at Homer Street
- Stamp's Landing by Monk McQueen's restaurant
- Spyglass Place: Near the Olympic Village beneath the Cambie Street Bridge on the south shore
- Yaletown at the foot of Davie Street
- Plaza of Nations / Edgewater Casino
- Science World, across from the SkyTrain Main Street – Science World Station
Green power initiative
In 2008 Aquabus converted its seven diesel ferries to clean-burning, biodegradable, non-toxic biodiesel made from used vegetable oil. The vegetable oil is collected from various eateries on Granville Island. However, after experimenting with the BioDiesel mix, it was found that the Biodiesel clouded the fuel lines and clogged the fuel filters. This resulted on settling with a mixture of twenty percent biodiesel in cold weather moving to fifty percent biodiesel in warmer weather. In addition to the biodiesel conversions, one additional ship was converted to an experimental electric motor.
- False Creek Ferries - operates passenger ferries from Granville Island
- English Bay Launch - operates water taxis from Granville Island
- Parton, Nicole. "Battle of the ferries is a False Creek epic", Vancouver Sun, May 12, 1988, Page B-3.
- "Aquabus Ferries in Vancouver, British Columbia", About.com, Accessed September 14, 2009.
- Vancouver Courier, Vol. 74 No. 48. December 1st, 1982 Page 1, 7
- Daniels, Alan. "Bus for bikes barges into False Creek ferry fleet", Vancouver Sun, July 26, 1995, Page D-1.
- "RAINBOW HUNTER (THE) (O.N. 193303)", Transport Canada registration, Accessed September 30, 2009.
- "CYQUABUS II (O.N. 825486)", Transport Canada registration, Accessed September 30, 2009.
- "CYQUABUS III (O.N. 828831)", Transport Canada registration, Accessed September 30, 2009.
- "Two Vancouver companies team up to play the ‘green’ game", Vancouver Board of Trade, May 2008.
- "Would you like fries with that Aquabus?", Metro News, April 10, 2008.