Extra sailings from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii announced earlier this year by the B.C. government will commence with BC Ferries’ new spring schedule. The first additional sailing will be April 8.
Currently, the schedule alternates between three sailings per week followed by a two-sailing week. Going forward, every week for the spring, fall and winter schedules will accommodate three sailings.
BC Ferries is following through on the B.C. government’s promise to restore services to 2014 levels on 10 routes throughout the province.
The Alliford Bay to Skidegate sailings is also due for additional sailings, but first B.C. Ferries needs to find another full crew to fill the shifts. The extra staff is necessary as the route will change from 12-hour days to 16-hour days, requiring two shifts. The company says it has begun the process of recruitment and relocation of staff and will keep the ferry advisory committee up to date on the situation.
In 2014 the province altered its contract with BC Ferries to reduce the number of winter sailings between Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert from three per week to two, or 27 per cent. Service was also slashed 35 per cent between Skidegate and Alliford Bay.
A Ministry of Transportation review of the cuts, released earlier this year, noted numerous affects on Haida Gwaii communities including significant backlogs for truck transport, trip cancellations by tourists and residents stranded in Prince Rupert when travelling for medical or other reasons.