Current Conditions

Travel Advisory

Customer Service Centre - High Call Volumes

Please be advised we are currently experiencing higher then expected call volumes to our Customer Service Centre, resulting in longer than usual waits. Where possible, please use our online resources available now:


 

COVID-19 Update - August 6, 2020

BC Ferries remains committed to ensuring coastal communities have reliable access to essential goods and supplies.  Our priority is the health and safety of our customers and employees, and the company will strictly adhere to provincial and federal guidelines during this gradual resumption of service.

We will continue to engage coastal communities in decisions that are important to them, be transparent about the progress we are making towards recovery, and the role we can play to help the recovery of British Columbia.

We encourage our customers to continue to heed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to be calm, be kind, and be safe. Our vessel and terminal staff are working hard to adjust to changing circumstances and to implement protocols and procedures that keep everyone safe and healthy.

 

Priority Loading for Essential Goods and Supplies 

 

On July 30, 2020, the Province amended Ministerial Order (MO84) to remove priority loading for residents of ferry sailing destinations. 

As of July 31, 2020, we will return to providing equal access to all customers without reservations, with the exception of vehicles carrying essential goods and supplies as defined in MO84. These vehicles will continue to receive priority loading. Drivers of vehicles carrying essential good and supplies should inform the ticket agent when arriving at the ticket booth. 

Read the News Release (July 30th) with details on the amendment, here.

 
Under the Ministerial Order, BC Ferries will load stand-by vehicles carrying essential goods ​and supplies on the next available sailing before other non-reserved customers. 
 
BC Ferries is not an enforcement agency. We ask for honesty and patience with our employees who are working to navigate this new normal. We have a zero tolerance policy for abuse of our workers, and that includes verbal abuse. We take this issue so seriously that abuse of any kind may result in denial of service.
 

Thoughtfully reintroducing service

We are taking a measured and thoughtful approach in our planning, as we know decisions that we are making impact people’s lives. We will continue to monitor how much traffic returns over the summer and make decisions that are in the best interest of our customers, our employees, the general public and the long-term health of the ferry system.

Because demand is on average about 30 per cent of pre-COVID traffic, we will have a fewer sailings than in summer schedules of the past, but significantly more than what was available as a result of service cuts in April. Since early June, we’ve added over 300 sailings per month to our major routes.
 
While BC Ferries will strive to have more than enough capacity to meet traffic demand, sailings at popular times may be full. We are asking customers to book in advance to avoid sailing waits. For customers with flexibility in their schedules, we are asking them to plan their travel at less busy times of the day to even out traffic throughout the day.  
 

Transport Canada Screening Requirements

BC Ferries continues to work with all levels of government to help ensure the safety of our employees and customers, and support ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

For any route longer than 30 minutes, BC Ferries will screen all customers for COVID-19 symptoms and restrict travel to any customer that does not meet the screening requirements, as per the federal guidelines.

Prior to entering a BC Ferries’ terminal, customers need to answer the following questions:

  1. Do you have a fever and a cough?
  2. Do you have a fever and breathing difficulty?
  3. Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
  4. Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order?
  5. Are you in possession of a face covering that covers your mouth and nose, and do you agree to wear this covering in situations where you cannot maintain two metres of physical separation from fellow passengers? 

 

If you answer yes to any of questions 1 to 4 and/or no to question 5 above, or refuse to answer any of the questions, BC Ferries will deny you boarding. Customers not displaying symptoms and under a directive to self-isolate at home may be permitted on board but will be required to maintain physical distance by remaining in their vehicle.

BC Ferries has implemented measures in order to ensure that customers with serious medical conditions and a need for time sensitive treatments are able to continue to travel. Customers can communicate their travel needs to the ticket agent when they arrive at the terminal. Reservations are recommended, but non-reserved travel will be prioritized based on the essential travel needs.

For more details on Transport Canada’s announcement, click here.

Book in advance to avoid lengthy waits as sailings are limited. Check-in processing takes longer due to screening protocols in place.
 
Northern Routes

For northern and mid-coast communities, BC Ferries will continue to operate at the current off-peak (winter) service levels. This means the Northern Expedition will travel between Port Hardy – Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert – Skidegate. The summer direct service from Bella Coola to Port Hardy will not be introduced at this time. Instead, service to these communities will continue to be provided by the Nimpkish and Northern Expedition. For more information on the revised Northern schedules, please visit bcferries.com/schedules.

Many communities served by BC Ferries have issued advisories to travelers notifying them of limited supplies, healthcare equipment and resources. These communities include Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella, Klemtu,  and Bella Coola. Customers should inform themselves of local situations and remain committed to essential travel only.

A Ministerial Order (M257) was issued on July 30, 2020 related to Haida Gwaii stating travel is prohibited with the exception of residents, or for essential purposes. We have contacted all reserved customers to advise of the new order, and will rebook customers or cancel bookings when requested.  
 

For more information about travel and restrictions in these northern communities please see:

 

COVID-19 travel considerations

During the Provincial State of Emergency, those vehicles transporting essential goods​ and supplies are being given priority under Ministerial Order (M084). Customers are encouraged to make reservations if they want to ensure priority on a specific sailing.

When travelling in a vehicle, we ask customers to remain in their vehicles for the duration of the sailing* as space in our passenger lounges is limited to ensure physical distancing is maintained. Bring a face covering to wear onboard or in our terminals when physical distancing of 2 metres is not possible.  When using the washrooms or accessing food services, passengers need to have their face coverings with them.
*This change applies to all routes with the exception of travel on the north coast between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, and Prince Rupert and Skidegate.

 
Foot Passengers
 
When travelling, we require customers to bring a face covering to wear onboard or in our terminals when physical distancing of 2 metres is not possible.  Reservations for foot passengers are available for travel between Tsawwassen - Southern Gulf islands and our North Coast routes, and can be made through our call centre.  On all other routes, foot passengers will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis until passenger capacity has been reached, and tickets may be purchased at the terminal.

 

BC Ferries Vacations

All customers with a confirmed BC Ferries Vacations booking that has been impacted by changes to our schedules or imposed travel restrictions, will be contacted. If you require immediate assistance, please contact BC Ferries Vacations at 1-888-223-3779 Ext. 3, or email vacations@bcferries.com. Vacations Call Centre business hours are 8:30 am – 5 pm from Monday – Friday, and 9 am – 5 pm on weekends and statutory holidays.

 

Assured Loading Card

In order for BC Ferries to comply with temporary emergency measures and orders issued by the Province and Transport Canada, please be aware that while the Ministerial Orders are in place, your use of Assured Loading tickets may be denied in order to ensure essential travellers are accommodated. To avoid sailing delays, at this time we ask Assured Loading ticket holders if an essential service or resident, to book in advance instead of using an Assured Loading Card. For more details, visit the COVID-19 page. 

 

Physical distancing

To support physical distancing and self-isolation and to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease including COVID-19, please note the following for your travels:

  • Customers can remain in their vehicles on enclosed lower decks. This change applies to all routes with the exception of travel on the north coast between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, and Prince Rupert and Skidegate. 
  • We are strongly advising vehicle passengers to stay in their vehicles, regardless of their car deck, during the sailing
  • If you must come up to the passenger decks, or you are travelling as a foot passenger, please maintain physical distancing and stay at least two metres away from other customers and our employees
  • Transport Canada encourages customers to wear face coverings to cover their mouth and nose during travel if they cannot maintain physical distance from others while on board. For more information, read Transport Canada’s news release here.

Other Important Information

  • Pay with a card and use 'Tap' where possible. We are encouraging the use electronic payment (Debit, Credit or Experience™ Card) during this time.
  • Many terminal and onboard amenities are reopening please see our news release for details.
  • Quay Markets reopening as of Friday June 26th.  Please ​visit tsawwassenquay.com and nanaimoquay.com for a list of businesses reopening and the latest updates 
  • Wheelchair Assistance is not currently available at terminals or on board ferries. If you require a wheelchair, please request one at the terminal. We ask that you travel with your own wheelchair assistant if required.

 

Vehicles with U.S. License Plates Travelling on the Ferries

Canada Border Services Agency is screening people entering Canada at the borders. BC Ferries does not have a mandate to restrict travel.

 

We’re in this together

We are proud of the work our dedicated employees continue to provide during this situation. Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to ensure continued safe transport of critical goods and supplies to coastal B.C. communities. If you have a chance to relay a ‘thank-you’ to our teams online, please do.

BC Ferries provides a lifeline to remote and to coastal communities in British Columbia, and will continue to provide vital services, such as delivering medical supplies and groceries to support communities.

For more information on all the steps BC Ferries is taking during COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 response page. For more information on schedules visit bcferries.com/schedules. BC Ferries hopes to resume the levels of service customers have come to expect soon.