Campbell River – Quadra Island ferry users will get a taste of two-ship service next week.

One of its newest Island Class vessels is set to sail in conjunction with the Powell River Queen for an operational trial on December 3rd, 4th and 5th.

BC Ferries says those travelling for essential reasons only can sail aboard the new ship on the 4th and 5th, while following COVID-19 protocols. Regular rates will apply.

The Island Aurora is currently undergoing finishing touches at Point Hope Maritime in Victoria. As it sails to its new home in Port McNeill, there is an opportunity to stop in Campbell River.

The trial will help crews learn how these ships operate, including loading and sailing times. BC Ferries will use this to work with the community on sailing schedules during community engagement sometime next year.

Then, in early 2022, two of the new vessels will set sail along the route, replacing the Powell River Queen. 

READ MORE: New battery-electric hybrid vessels coming to Campbell River

By replacing one larger ship with two smaller vessels, BC Ferries says customers will see more frequent service, increased capacity per hour, reduced line-ups, improved safety and less traffic on local roads.

The Island Class is designed for future full electric operation, and BC Ferries adds that the vessels are fitted with hybrid technology. This will bridge the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding become available.