Mechanical issues could impact Thanksgiving plans for BC Ferries passengers

Oct 5 2021, 11:44 pm

BC Ferries passengers could have their Thanksgiving travel plans impacted during the upcoming long weekend.

The company says that its Spirit of Vancouver Island vessel, which is used on the Tsawwassen (Vancouver) — Swartz Bay (Victoria) route, experienced a mechanical issue with its gearbox last week and remains out of service for repairs until further notice.

A travel advisory with a modified schedule has been issued and the Coastal Renaissance vessel is being “repositioned to assist with service recovery” until repairs on the Spirit of Vancouver Island are complete.

The Coastal Renaissance is a smaller vessel, however, meaning that sailing capacity will be reduced. According to BC Ferries, it holds 48 fewer vehicles and nearly 500 fewer passengers and crew than its larger counterpart.

As a result, customers with bookings on affected sailings are being contacted to be moved to other sailings when possible. Passengers who have bookings that can’t be accommodated on alternate sailings will have their bookings cancelled and fully refunded.

The ferry corporation also says that anyone without bookings on this route should prepare for sailing waits. Alternate routes such as West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Nanaimo (Departure Bay) and Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Nanaimo (Duke Point) are also available.

“Historically, the most popular travel times are Thursday and Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning for traffic moving from Vancouver to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast,” BC Ferries says.

“The most popular travel day of the long weekend will be Thanksgiving Monday, with traffic sailing from Nanaimo, Victoria, and the Sunshine Coast.”

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