The B.C. Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay arrives at Horseshoe Bay terminal last week. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

B.C. Ferries warns of sailing waits over Thanksgiving weekend

Passengers urged to try to spread out on board vessels

Ferries are typically busier on long weekends, so physical distancing on board could be challenging.

B.C. Ferries sent out safe travel reminders leading into the Thanksgiving long weekend, and advised that customers without reservations may face sailing waits during peak travel times.

Passengers are asked to spread out on board vessels and B.C. Ferries says it is opening additional space on board for customers to be able to maintain physical distancing.

“With the reinstatement of Transport Canada’s regulation regarding passengers needing to leave the enclosed vehicle decks on the ferry, we are opening up more space on board the ferries if we need to for passengers,” said Tessa Humphries, B.C. Ferries spokeswoman, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin.

READ ALSO: Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for B.C. Ferries riders returns

She said opening the Sea West Lounge, Pacific Buffet and seating areas that had been taped off “will allow for physical distancing and then with our mandatory mask policy, is being done safely.”

The press release noted that the most popular travel times are Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings for people travelling to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, and Sundays, Mondays and Tuesday mornings are popular for people returning to the Lower Mainland.

Between Oct. 8-12, the ferry corporation recommends that travellers on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route try for the 6:30 a.m. and 10:10 p.m. sailings from West Vancouver and the 6:30 a.m. sailing from Nanaimo. On the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route, the 9:10 p.m. and 11:20 p.m. sailings from West Van aren’t expected to be as busy and the 6:20 a.m. and 10:15 p.m. sailings from Gibsons are the best bets.

B.C. Ferries recently launched a new mobile-friendly website which it says makes the process simpler for customers to book travel and manage their bookings online.

story continues below

Love this photo that was sent to us by Angela Bacon. Photo taken Saturday at Departure Bay Beach…

Posted by Nanaimo News Bulletin on Monday, October 5, 2020

This is the first long weekend since Transport Canada rescinded its allowance for travellers to remain in their vehicles on all ferry decks. Passengers on enclosed lower decks must move to the upper decks during sailings.

“The health and safety of employees and customers is B.C. Ferries’ top priority, and the company assures customers it continues to have many additional measures in place for your safety and to prevent the spread of illness,” noted the press release.

Face masks are mandatory at ferry terminals and on board vessels, and COVID-19 screening mandated by Transport Canada is in effect. B.C. Ferries said enhanced cleaning is also happening.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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