Additional sailings are beginning for 10 B.C. Ferries routes from the Southern Gulf Islands to the North Coast. (B.C. Ferries)

Most of restored B.C. Ferries sailings set to start on April 1

Low-volume early and late ferry runs were cancelled in 2014

The B.C. government’s $5.8 million subsidy increase for B.C. Ferries to restore low-volume sailings that were cut in 2014 means most of the extra sailings will be leaving the dock starting April 1, Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says.

The 2,700 sailings per year are added to minor routes from the Southern Gulf Islands up to Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii by increasing the $180 million annual provincial subsidy to B.C. Ferries to cover the costs.

Additional sailings from Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island are to be increased in early April after a community survey, B.C. Ferries said in a statement Thursday. The Alliford Bay-Skidegate route between Haida Gwaii islands requires additional staff to go from 12-hour operation to 16 hours, and will begin once recruiting and relocating staff is complete.

When former transportation minister Todd Stone implemented the reductions in April 2014, he said they were necessary to make the ferry service viable. Stone cited the Monday night sailing between Alliford Bay and Skidegate that had an average load of one passenger and one vehicle.

READ MORE: MLAs spar over ferry impacts on killer whales

READ MORE: Debit cards OK for B.C. Ferries, except loading

The Inside Passage route between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, the longest and most heavily subsidized B.C. Ferries route, needs vessel refit and staff recruitment to add more service at the start of the summer, B.C. Ferries said it is investigating the feasibility of extending the summer schedule into the fall of this year, with more service to be added next year.

The 2013 service review reported the vehicle usage of each affected sailing. For Campbell River to Quadra Island, where Trevena lives, the 8 p.m. ferry was running at less than five per cent capacity seven days a week.

Additional sailings are to begin April 1 on the following routes and users should check B.C. Ferries’ schedule to find adjusted sailing times:

• Crofton-Vesuvius

• Earls Cove-Saltery Bay

• Horseshoe Bay-Bowen Island

• Port Hardy-Mid-Coast-Prince Rupert

• Powell River-Texada Island

• Campbell River-Quadra Island

• Quadra Island-Cortes Island

Transport Canada rules require that B.C. Ferries vessels be fully staffed regardless of passenger load so that a ferry at full capacity can be evacuated in case of emergency.

The 2014 reductions also included the elimination of free senior fares from Monday to Thursday across the B.C. Ferries fleet, which have since been restored by the NDP government. The 2014 service review was estimated to save more than $18 million per year.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Adverse weather forces ferry schedule change

Thursday’s Skidegate to Prince Rupert route affected

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Coast Mountain College announces interim president

Ken Burt, current president and CEO, will say goodbye to CMNT come September

Queen Charlotte crackdown

RCMP target impaired driving amidst rising numbers of the offence

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read