Additional sailings are beginning for 10 B.C. Ferries routes from the Southern Gulf Islands to the North Coast. (B.C. Ferries)

Most of restored B.C. Ferries sailings set to start on April 1

Low-volume early and late ferry runs were cancelled in 2014

The B.C. government’s $5.8 million subsidy increase for B.C. Ferries to restore low-volume sailings that were cut in 2014 means most of the extra sailings will be leaving the dock starting April 1, Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says.

The 2,700 sailings per year are added to minor routes from the Southern Gulf Islands up to Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii by increasing the $180 million annual provincial subsidy to B.C. Ferries to cover the costs.

Additional sailings from Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island are to be increased in early April after a community survey, B.C. Ferries said in a statement Thursday. The Alliford Bay-Skidegate route between Haida Gwaii islands requires additional staff to go from 12-hour operation to 16 hours, and will begin once recruiting and relocating staff is complete.

When former transportation minister Todd Stone implemented the reductions in April 2014, he said they were necessary to make the ferry service viable. Stone cited the Monday night sailing between Alliford Bay and Skidegate that had an average load of one passenger and one vehicle.

READ MORE: MLAs spar over ferry impacts on killer whales

READ MORE: Debit cards OK for B.C. Ferries, except loading

The Inside Passage route between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, the longest and most heavily subsidized B.C. Ferries route, needs vessel refit and staff recruitment to add more service at the start of the summer, B.C. Ferries said it is investigating the feasibility of extending the summer schedule into the fall of this year, with more service to be added next year.

The 2013 service review reported the vehicle usage of each affected sailing. For Campbell River to Quadra Island, where Trevena lives, the 8 p.m. ferry was running at less than five per cent capacity seven days a week.

Additional sailings are to begin April 1 on the following routes and users should check B.C. Ferries’ schedule to find adjusted sailing times:

• Crofton-Vesuvius

• Earls Cove-Saltery Bay

• Horseshoe Bay-Bowen Island

• Port Hardy-Mid-Coast-Prince Rupert

• Powell River-Texada Island

• Campbell River-Quadra Island

• Quadra Island-Cortes Island

Transport Canada rules require that B.C. Ferries vessels be fully staffed regardless of passenger load so that a ferry at full capacity can be evacuated in case of emergency.

The 2014 reductions also included the elimination of free senior fares from Monday to Thursday across the B.C. Ferries fleet, which have since been restored by the NDP government. The 2014 service review was estimated to save more than $18 million per year.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Oceanside RCMP officer makes Alexa’s Team

Munro able to stop and process 15 impaired motorists during the past year

Potty Mouth artist creating Funky Fungus

Parksville-Qualicum’s Carmen Lutz has people chuckling with her hand-made, rustic mugs

Qualicum Beach charity hosts fundraiser for Guatemalan students

Aldea Maya has been working in the Central American country since 2012

Parksville Lawn Bowling Club on a roll for artificial turf

Project to cost over $500,000 but will save club money

More Parksville pop-up water parks planned

Fire department says Sunday, Aug. 18 next one on the agenda

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okanagan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Most Read