BC Ferries adds sailings amidst backlog and public demand

  • Jun. 18, 2015 8:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverAs people from across the country and the globe begin the vacation season, BC Ferries is adding two additional sailings in June to keep up with demand.The Northern Adventure will make unexpected sailings between Prince Rupert and Skidegate on Monday, June 8 and Monday, June 15 in order to address a backlog of customers wishing to access Haida Gwaii.”We’ve been monitoring the situation and talking to our customers and in order to reduce waits for customers who couldn’t secure a reservation on a sailing of their choice we are adding extra capacity between now and the start of our summer schedule which ramps up on June 19,” explained BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall.”While overloads are a reality in our business, we are seeing some extraordinary overloads and we wanted to take care of the backlog of demand.”Marshall said there is “a good chance” the sailings won’t break even financially, but said the decision was made in light of the increased demand. The extra sailings, she said, will serve as somewhat of a stopgap between the winter schedule and the start of the summer season on June 19.”After June 18, there is reservable space available for booking. We expect these two extra sailings to clear the stand-by lists,” she said.”Once summer schedule starts, we don’t expect any capacity issues with this route.”Ferry Advisory Committee acting Chair, Ellen Cranston along with Queen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin, have been lobbying for the extra sailing since early spring.”I was frustrated,” explained Ms. Cranston, who had been writing emails to BC Ferries about the freight and standby issues. “Thank goodness they have seen there is a need for more sailings.”Mayor Martin has written emails to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone. “It would be an understatement to claim that commercial traffic between Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii is limited,” Mr. Martin stated in his email to Mr. Stone. “There’s enough of a backlog to fill a third sailing per week between Prince Rupert and Skidegate and still have some leftover freight. If BC Ferries cannot provide this third weekly sailing, can they at least provide a barge service?”With the help of local leaders and pressure from the communities of Haida Gwaii,  there now are three sailings a week until the summer season for BC Ferries, which starts June 19th.

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