Black Ball Ferry Line buys Victoria Express business

Black Ball Ferry Line is purchasing the business operations of the Victoria Express from Victoria Rapid Transit in a deal announced today by both companies in a press release.

Terms of the sale were not released.

The Harmon family formed Victoria Rapid Transit in 1990 and over the past two decades grew the ferry business to include service to Victoria, Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, and Port Angeles. The ferry also offered private charters for individuals and organizations throughout the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Puget Sound, as far south as Westport and even into Lake Washington.

“The Harmon family has built a great company and there is a lot of goodwill among their customer base,” said Black Ball Ferry Line president Ryan Burles.


“The timing of this acquisition is beneficial for both our companies. We look forward to welcoming Victoria Express customers on board the M.V. Coho to experience our great service and amenities during their trip between Victoria and Port Angeles.”


Black Ball Ferry Line operates the M.V. Coho, providing year-round car and walk-on ferry service between Port Angeles and downtown Victoria, British Columbia, with up to eight sailings daily during the summer season.


Following its winter break, the principals of Victoria Rapid Transit, Inc., will focus on launching their new “Explorer Series” of tours, based out of Port Angeles. The Victoria Express will not resume scheduled service between Port Angeles and Victoria.


The new Explorer Series will be offered under Victoria Rapid Transit’s new name, Expeditions NW.

Jack Harmon, President of Victoria Rapid Transit, Inc., said, “The Explorer Series sailings will present opportunities to explore the ecological and cultural wonders of our region, an area that is significantly under-recognized for its amazing beauty and opportunities.”


Harmon added, “This new venture will greatly broaden our horizons and expand efforts to promote our region through offerings that will add an exciting new visitor experience to the growing tourism mix in Port Angeles and the Olympic Peninsula, featuring explorations into a wide array of areas of natural beauty and rich history that you don’t see from the highway.”


Burles, the Black Ball Ferry Line president, said, “We wish the Harmon family much success in their new business venture.”


Both companies, long-established fixtures on the Victoria and Port Angeles waterfront, have worked collaboratively for many years promoting the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island and attempting to resolve issues that impact tourism’s economic growth, such as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

“We are committed to helping the region grow by providing exceptional service and great value for our customers,” Burles said.


Black Ball working year-round
Black Ball Ferry Line’s M.V. Coho offers year-round car and walk-on passenger service between Port Angeles, Washington, and downtown Victoria, British Columbia. During the scenic 90-minute crossing passengers can enjoy the many onboard amenities including a cafeteria, gift shop, duty-free shopping and solarium viewing area on the top passenger deck. More than 405,000 passengers and over 120,000 vehicles make the trip each year, accounting for more than 60 percent of total visitor entries into Victoria’s Inner Harbour. During its more than half century of service, the M.V. Coho has transported more than 21 million passengers and five million vehicles. For more information, visit



Victoria Rapid a 20-year mainstay

Victoria Rapid Transit, Inc. provided service between Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C. for over 20 years, adding scheduled service to Friday Harbor in 2004. The owners and staff of Victoria Rapid Transit are dedicated to providing the same high level of service to their newly announced Explorer Series of sailings. Details of the new eco-tour sailings will be announced in the very near future and can be found at



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