About BC Ferries

Tsawwassen - Southern Gulf Islands Thru Fare Vehicle Pilot

Starting June 6, 2016, BC Ferries will be embarking on a Thru Fare pilot on the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route to assist customers travelling with a standard passenger vehicle up to 20Ft (6.1m) in length and under 7Ft (2.13m) in height from the mainland to the Southern Gulf Islands via the Swartz Bay terminal. The goal of the pilot is to help expedite the unloading of Thru Fare customers traveling by vehicle upon arrival at the Swartz Bay terminal in order to improve the likelihood of connecting with the next sailing to the respective Gulf Island.

When purchasing your ticket at the Tsawwassen terminal, please request a Thru Fare and you will receive a Thru Fare hanger to be hung from your vehicle’s rear view mirror. This Hanger will help identify you as a Thru Fare customer to the terminal crew and loading officers; every effort will be made to place your vehicle in a lane on board the vessel that will discharge early upon arrival at Swartz Bay. Please note that your arrival time at the Tsawwassen terminal, traffic levels and reserved or non-reserved status will determine the sailing you will be loaded on at Tsawwassen.

Upon arrival at the Swartz Bay terminal, Thru Fare customers travelling by vehicle will still be required to depart the terminal and return to the Swartz Bay ticket booth by following the U-turn route. (map provided on the back of Thru Fare hanger). The ticket agent at Swartz Bay will collect the Thru Far hanger and Thru Fare receipt you received at Tsawwassen Terminal, and issue you a boarding pass for the next leg of your journey.

Sample Thru Fare Hanger

Front – facing windshield   Back – facing customer
 

Thru Fare Information

In addition to direct sailings from Tsawwassen to the Southern Gulf Islands, BC Ferries offers travel between Tsawwassen and the Southern Gulf Islands via Swartz Bay. The Thru Fare rate represents the same rate as direct travel between Tsawwassen and the Southern Gulf Islands. Visit our Ferry Fares page for detailed information on all of BC Ferries' fares.

To be eligible for the Thru Fare rate, passengers must purchase a Thru Fare at the first terminal of departure and present the Thru Fare ticket at Swartz Bay terminal. A Thru Fare ticket may be purchased at one of the following locations:

  • At Tsawwassen Terminal ticket booth
  • When travelling on board the vessel from a Southern Gulf Island to Swartz Bay
  • At Otter Bay, Sturdies Bay or Village Bay ticket booths when departing from the Southern Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay

Thru Fare tickets must be used for the next available sailing. Passengers arriving at Swartz Bay after the final sailing to their Southern Gulf Island destination has departed may take any sailing the following day departing before noon.

Please note, connections are not guaranteed and travel between Swartz Bay and the Southern Gulf Islands and visa-versa is on a first-come first-serve basis.

Before making any travel plans, we encourage customers to check BC Ferries’ Schedules Page for the most up to date schedule information.

Reservations are recommended when trip planning, and can be made online or by calling 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).

  • Depart Swartz Bay Terminal on HWY 17 South
  • Stay in right lane
  • Take Exit 31 for Wain Rd
  • Take first left onto the overpass
  • Turn left and follow McDonald Park Rd onto HWY 17 North to Swartz Bay Terminal
  • Arrive at Swartz Bay Ticket Booth and return Thru Fare hanger to agent

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Thru Fare?
  2. A Thru Fare represents the same fare for direct travel to/from Tsawwassen to a Southern Gulf Island and for travel via Swartz Bay on two different vessels (Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Swartz Bay to Southern Gulf Island). For full fare details, please visit our Ferry Fares page.

  3. What is the schedule for a Thru Fare?
  4. Although we have direct and fully reservable sailings from Tsawwassen to Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Saturna and Salt Spring Island, as an alternate route, you can travel from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay and then Swartz Bay to a Southern Gulf Island.

    For full schedule information, please visit BC Ferries’ Schedules Page For reservations on our direct sailings from Tsawwassen to a Southern Gulf Island, please visit our Reserve and Plan page or call 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).

  5. Where do I purchase a ticket leaving the Southern Gulf Islands travelling to Swartz Bay and then Tsawwassen on a Thru Fare?
  6. For travel from Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring to Swartz Bay, purchase a Thru Fare ticket from the ticket kiosk located in the passenger lounge onboard the vessel.

    For travel from Galiano, Mayne, Pender or Saturna Islands, see a crew member on board who can provide you with an appropriate Thru Fare Voucher. This voucher is required at Swartz Bay to pay the lower Southern Gulf Islands to Tsawwassen fare.

  7. What is a Thru Fare hanger?
  8. During the Tsawwassen Vehicle Thru Fare Pilot, a Thru Fare hanger will be provided at Tsawwassen terminal for you to display on your windshield from your rearview mirror. This hanger identifies you as a Thru Fare customer travelling via Swartz Bay to a Southern Gulf Island.

  9. Does the Thru Fare hanger guarantee that I will be on the next sailing to the Southern Gulf Islands?
  10. No, travel is on a first-come first-serve basis from Swartz Bay to the Southern Gulf Islands. The Thru Fare hanger provides assistance with loading your vehicle on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry for as early an offloading opportunity at Swartz Bay as possible.

  11. Should I get a Thru Fare hanger from my Southern Gulf Islands sailing to Swartz Bay?
  12. No, the Thru Fare Vehicle Pilot is for travel to the Southern Gulf Islands only. The existing process remains the same for travel departing from the Southern Gulf Islands.

  13. I am travelling with a motor home; does the Thru Fare hanger apply to me?
  14. No, at this time the Southern Gulf Islands Thru Fare Vehicle pilot is specific to standard vehicles up to 20Ft (6.10m) in length and under 7Ft (2.13m) in height. The Thru Fare rate is still applicable to match the fare you would pay if you would take a direct sailing.

  15. I travel frequently in a vehicle and utilize the Thru Fare. Can I keep my Thru Fare hanger?
  16. No, upon arrival at Swartz Bay, we ask that you return your Thru Fare hanger to the Ticket Agent. Please be assured you will receive a new hanger each time you purchase a Thru Fare at Tsawwassen Terminal.

  17. I travel as a foot passenger from Tsawwassen; does the Thru Fare hanger apply to me?
  18. No, as a foot passenger who travels from Tsawwassen to a Southern Gulf Island via Swartz Bay, please purchase a Thru Fare ticket at the Tsawwassen Foot Passenger ticket booth. Once you have disembarked the ferry at Swartz Bay please present your Thru Fare ticket to the loading staff on shore for the next leg of your journey. Our terminal staff will assist with directions to your next sailing. Thru Fare tickets must be used for the next available sailing. Passengers arriving at Swartz Bay after the final sailing to their Southern Gulf Island destination has departed may take any sailing the following day departing before noon. Please note, connections are not guaranteed and travel between Swartz Bay and the Southern Gulf Islands and visa-versa is on a first-come first-serve basis.

  19. I travel as a foot passenger from a Southern Gulf Island; does the Thru Fare hanger apply to me?
    • No, for foot passenger travel from Fulford Harbour, Saltspring to Swartz Bay, purchase a Thru Fare ticket from the ticket kiosk located in the passenger lounge onboard the vessel. When changing vessels at Swartz Bay please present your Thru Fare ticket to the loading staff on shore for the next leg of your journey. Our terminal staff will assist with directions to your next sailing from Swartz Bay to the Southern Gulf Islands.
    • For foot passenger travel from Galiano, Mayne, Pender or Saturna Islands, see a crew member on board who will provide you with a Thru Fare voucher. This voucher is required at Swartz Bay to pay the direct Southern Gulf Islands to Tsawwassen fare at the Swartz Bay Foot Passenger ticket booth.