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May long weekend shaping up to be B.C.’s busiest since pandemic began

Travellers by air, land or sea should expect longer than normal wait times and adjust accordingly
FILE: People wait in line to cross the Canadian border at Peace Arch. (Aaron Hinks photo)

With good weather in the forecast and no pandemic measures in place, May long weekend is expected to bring long lineups for B.C. travellers.

As of Friday morning, ferry sailings from Metro Vancouver’s main terminals — Tsawassen and Horseshoe Bay — were operating with at least one sailing wait. Wait times are expected to grow throughout the day. Historically, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning are the busiest travel days from the Mainland to Vancouver Island.

Reservations are all booked up.

B.C. Ferries added 110 additional sailings and bolstered their staffing levels with 500 news employees to meet increased travel demand heading into the busy summer season. B.C. Ferries expects over 300,000 passengers and 100,000 vehicles will be transported from Thursday through Monday.

READ MORE: BC Ferries pads long weekend with 110 extra sailings as reservations sell out

The Vancouver Airport tried to get a jump on advising travellers of what to expect as many are returning to air travel for the first time in two years. They warned travellers that Friday is expected to be the busiest day at YVR since the pandemic began.

“From Friday, May 20 through Monday, May 23, YVR will welcome upwards of 50,000 passengers daily,” the airport said in a news release. “Similar to other large airports in Canada, at various points in the day passengers at YVR could experience long lines for security screening at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) checkpoints.”

Air travellers are advised to arrive early, have a parking plan and be prepared for passenger screening. Masks are still federally mandated on all flights within Canada.

Wait times at B.C.’s border crossings into the United States remained fairly minimal Friday morning, but those wait times are anticipated to increase dramatically through the afternoon and into the weekend.

“This summer, travellers are returning to a border that is managed differently, with evolving COVID-19 requirements, which can mean delays during peak periods,” the Canada Border Service Agency said in a news release. “The CBSA is working to mitigate long border wait times, but there are also things that travellers can do to make the process easier for themselves and other travellers.”

The agency recommends travellers cross during non-peak hours like the early morning. They warn that long weekend Mondays are historically the busiest days for crossings.

To ease wait times, they recommend return travellers complete their mandatory ArriveCan submission 72 hours before returning to Canada. Before you go, ensure you have the proper documentation and know the contents of your vehicle and know your exemption limits.

READ MORE: Expect a busy summer at border crossings says Canada Border Services Agency

Drivers reminded to slow down and take their time

ICBC warned drivers to slow down when travelling over the long weekend.

In a news release, the insurance company said that on average, 480 people are injured and three people are killed in 1,800 crashes throughout the province over Victoria Day long weekend.

Police will be conducting a province-wide speed enforcement blitz to crack down on excessive speeding.

ICBC recommends travellers be realistic about their travel times, plan their routes in advance and adjust their speed to road conditions.

Drivers can check for up-to-date road conditions before they travel.

READ MORE: Closer travel spots gain appeal as average gas price tops $2 a litre for first time


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