The new operator of the Portland-to-Nova Scotia ferry service reported an increase in passengers during its third week of operation compared with the first two weeks.

Bay Ferries Ltd., the operator of The Cat ferry, said in a news release that it averaged 307 passengers and 106 vehicles daily each way from July 1 through July 7.

That compares with 181 passengers and 78 cars the first week of service, which began June 15, and 285 passengers and 97 vehicles the second week. The ferry has a capacity of about 700 passengers.

The service, considered an important component of Nova Scotia’s tourism industry, operates daily from Portland to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The route had been operated for the past two years by Nova Star Cruises, which never met passenger projections, despite nearly $40 million in government subsidies. Last year the provincial government awarded the contract for the 2016 season to Bay Ferries, which put into service a much smaller, faster vessel.