BC Ferries denied a “handful” of customers travel over the weekend following the implementation of the new provincial ban on non-essential travel between regions. (Black Press Media File)

BC Ferries denied a “handful” of customers travel over the weekend following the implementation of the new provincial ban on non-essential travel between regions. (Black Press Media File)

Traffic down, issues few as BC Ferries enjoys smooth weekend under new restrictions

BC Ferries denied a ‘handful’ of customers travel over the weekend with no serious pushback

A spokesperson for BC Ferries described the first weekend subject to new COVID-19 travel restrictions as smooth and without an incidents.

Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries’ executive director, public affairs, marketing and customer experience, said staff denied a “handful of customers” travel on the six routes that cross the regional zones as per the provincial order. Marshall later said the actual number ranged from four to seven.

“There was no need to call authorities,” she said. “It was more a matter of a few people not being fully aware of the order.”

The ban effective since Friday until May 25 divides the province into three major travel regions based on the five provincial health regions and prohibits non-essential travel between them.

The trio consists of Vancouver Island (Vancouver Island Health), Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health) and Northern-Interior (Northern Health and Interior Health, including Bella Coola Valley, the Central Coast and Hope).

The provincial government said the goal of the order is educational. If the restrictions need to be enforced, people not obeying may be subject to a $575 fine from police. Departments may set up periodic road checks at key travel corridors during times linked with leisure travel to remind travellers of the order.

The order sees BC Ferries ask travellers if their passage is essential and non-essential travellers will be asked not to board vessels headed to a different region.

BC Ferries will also suspend adding extra sailings during weekends, holidays and peak travel periods and notify all travellers with reservations that the travel order is in place and allow cancellations free of charge.

Marshall said traffic across the fleet continues to drop.

RELATED: B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

On the Tsawwassen-to-Swartz Bay route, passenger numbers dropped 34 per cent while vehicle numbers dropped 24 per cent over the weekend compared to last weekend. “Compared to 2019, we were down 82 per cent in passengers and 65 per cent in vehicles,” she said.

On the Horseshoe Bay-to-Departure Bay route, passenger numbers dropped 42 per cent while vehicle numbers dropped 37 per cent this weekend compared to last weekend. “Compared to 2019, we were down 77 per cent in passengers and 64 per cent in vehicles,” she said.

On the Tsawwassen-to-Duke Point route, passenger numbers dropped 17 per cent while vehicle numbers dropped seven per cent this weekend compared to last weekend. “Keep in mind, a lot of commercial traffic (essential travel) usually uses this route,” she said. “Compared to 2019, we were down 74 per cent in passengers and 60 per cent in vehicles.”

While Marshall said she lacked specific numbers, many customers have been contacting BC Ferries to cancel their bookings. “Our traffic is down significantly, which means British Columbians are heeding the order and advise to avoid non-essential travel at this time,” she said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

bc ferryCoronavirus

Just Posted

Police tape crosses Auchinachie Road at Somenos Road as police investigate an incident Friday at 11:30 a.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
UPDATE: Gardener digs up explosives, neighbours, school evacuated

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Colin Dowler survived a grizzly bear attack July 29, 2019 on Mt. Dougie Dowler on the south coast of British Columbia and reports that his physical and mental rehabilitation is still ongoing. Photo courtesy Colin Dowler
‘Bad-ass dude that took on a grizzly bear’ doesn’t let 2019 attack bring him down

Campbell River’s Colin Dowler gets on with his life as his rehabilitation continues

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue manager Ken Neden, as he goes over the events of the Qualicum Falls river rescue on Dec. 12, 2020, for a United Kingdom television program “Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’. (Mandy Moraes photo)
UK TV show spreading news of daring Qualicum Falls river rescue across the world

Arrowsmith SAR trio share their accounts for ‘Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs to get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Left to right: Royal Bay students Payton Gust, Oskar Wood, Cheyenne Norman, Julia Morrison, Tanisha Spiller and Izzy Kroll made up the team who painted their high school’s crosswalk. (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)
Senior student leaves mark at Vancouver Island high school for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood’s Royal Bay Secondary painted in support of marginalized community members

Pathfinders and Wild Wise Sooke built slim, black bat houses to be hung around Sooke. (Submitted/Wild Wise Sooke)
Vancouver Island teens build bat condos

Wild Wise Sooke says bats will sleep, hibernate and raise their young in the boxes

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Most Read