The provincial ferry corporation is preparing to restore its third major route between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
BC Ferries has set Wednesday, June 3, as its target date to relaunch its West Vancouver Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo Departure Bay route. It will initially operate with four roundtrips per day.
“Our agreement for temporary service reductions expires on June 3, but we had 30 days to reinstate service, so BC Ferries has chosen to resume service earlier than anticipated,” said BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall in an email to Daily Hive.
“Through this challenging time, our employees have demonstrated courage and determination to support coastal ferry service, and we thank them for their continued dedication. We look forward to bringing some of our skilled employees back as we gradually resume service.”
More details on scheduling will be released over the coming weeks once plans are finalized.
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BC Ferries suspended this route on April 4 when its revenue shortfall losses from plummeting traffic began to mount. from plummeting traffic began to mount. It instead focused its resources on retaining the other two major routes to Vancouver Island — Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, and Tsawwassen-Duke Point. Both of these routes serving Tsawwassen are also vital routes for cargo.
Capacities on both of these routes were increased earlier this month when the ferry corporation opened up select cargo-only sailings to passengers.
Additional sailings are being added to the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route starting this Victoria Day long weekend, and there will be additional sailings on select days starting later in the month.
But the ferry corporation continues to advise the public to avoid non-essential travel, especially this weekend.
Following federal regulations during the health crisis, BC Ferries is required to operate with a maximum passenger capacity of 50%, which is intended to allow passengers to practice physical distancing. With Transport Canada’s permission, passengers can also remain in their vehicles on closed decks.
Until further notice, hot food options and non-essential retail on vessels and at terminal facilities will remain closed.