Current Conditions

Travel Advisory

COVID-19 Update - May 27, 2020

 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all of us, including BC Ferries. Traffic across all of our routes is down approximately 80% because of COVID-19, and BC Ferries has made adjustments to service levels on some of the routes we operate. The Coastal Ferry Services Contract with the Province of British Columbia has been amended to permit these service reductions

These measures are being taken to protect the health and safety of communities and our crew, ensure the resiliency of our service, and match service levels to current demand. The changes are designed to ensure BC Ferries has sufficient capacity to allow the flow of essential goods, services, supplies and workers. Please see below for a summary of the changes:

 

Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island

The schedules for the three routes operating between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island have recently changed. For the most up-to-date Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay schedule, click here. For the most up-to-date Tsawwassen – Duke Point route, click here.


Any sailing listed as Cargo limits the number of passengers on board to 84, and gives priority loading to commercial vehicles transporting goods. Essential service workers are loaded on a first come, first served basis after commercial vehicles. If space is available after commercial vehicles and essential workers have been loaded, other traffic may be loaded at the discretion of the terminal.


The Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route will resume service beginning on June 3, 2020.  
The route will have four round trips per day. The daily schedule will be:

  • From Horseshoe Bay: 8:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:50 pm, 6:50 pm

  • From Departure Bay: 10:30 am, 12:50 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:50 pm 
BC Ferries strongly recommends customers make an advance booking to avoid lengthy wait times due to limited capacity on the route. All customers, including customers with Assured Loading Cards, are advised to arrive at least an hour in advance. Check-in processing takes longer due to screening protocols in place 
 
 
Customers with bookings on cancelled sailings will be automatically refunded. Those who wish to book on a new sailing may contact BC Ferries directly to do so. For additional information, cargo sailings, and schedule updates please see our Service Notice pages

 

Metro Vancouver – Sunshine Coast

  • Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route will operate with six departures from each terminal daily from the present seven:

o    Langdale: 6:20 am, 8:40 am, 10:50 am, 3:15 pm, 5:25 pm, 7:40 pm

o    Horseshoe Bay: 7:30 am, 9:45 am, 11:55 am, 4:20 pm, 6:35 pm, 8:45 pm

Customers with bookings on cancelled sailings will be automatically refunded. Those who wish to book on a new sailing may contact BC Ferries directly to do so.

 

Metro Vancouver – Southern Gulf Islands

Due to COVID-19, changes have been made to the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route as of April 10. View the revised schedule here

BC Ferries reminds customers travelling from the Southern Gulf Islands into Greater Victoria to avoid non-essential travel at this time. The temporary service operating for customers going to/from the Southern Gulf Islands provides access into Greater Victoria on the Queen of Cumberland and the Salish Raven each morning. There is enough capacity available with both vessels; however, we are concerned some customers with time sensitive essential travel needs may be displaced if all customers try to travel on the Queen of Cumberland. 

We kindly ask customers from Mayne, Galiano and Pender Islands to consider whether their essential travel needs to happen mid-morning, or whether they have the ability to travel later in the day on the Salish Raven. We appreciate your cooperation during this challenging time.

 

Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay

This route has been suspended until further notice, and it will be re-evaluated based on demand. The Malahat highway allows an alternative for customers to travel between these two areas by vehicle.

 

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. Customers with reservations on affected sailings will be notified by mid-May. For more information on the revised Northern schedules, please visit bcferries.com/schedules.

  

Other routes

The remaining routes are unchanged at this time. BC Ferries continues to work with the Province to determine what those service levels will be. We will update you with any changes.  

 

BC Ferries Vacations

All customers with a confirmed BC Ferries Vacations booking that has been impacted by the service level adjustments will be contacted directly by a BC Ferries Vacations agent. We will work with you to adjust your travel plans. We will be contacting guests in order of departure date. 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. 

 

Our employees

Through this challenging time, BC Ferries’ employees have demonstrated courage and determination to support coastal ferry service. Unfortunately, these service level reductions will result in temporary layoffs for hundreds of dedicated and loyal employees.

This was not an easy decision to make. BC Ferries’ goal is to keep the layoffs to as short as possible. The company will need all these skilled people back as soon as possible to help restore ferry services when traffic returns.

 

Essential Travel

In line with directions provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and other leading health authorities, BC Ferries continues to advise customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time.

Many communities served by BC Ferries have issued advisories to travellers notifying them of limited supplies, healthcare equipment and resources. Travellers should inform themselves of local situations before travelling, especially when travelling to northern communities such as Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Klemtu, Ocean Falls, Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, Shearwater and Haida Gwaii. The travel distances to these communities are long and the communities have limited resources for medical and other situations. 

Other communities including Bowen Island, the qathet (Powell River) Regional District, and some Northern and Southern Gulf Islands have also issued advisories. According to health authorities, staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel helps to “flatten the curve” and reduces the risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

 
 
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
    We are strongly advising passengers to stay in their vehicles, regardless of their car deck, during the sailing. If you must come up to the passenger decks, please maintain physical distancing and stay at least two metres away from employees.

    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.

    The decision is the result of collaboration between Transport Canada and the Canadian Ferry Association to provide ferry operators with important flexibility to help protect passengers and their families from COVID-19 related risks, while also ensuring additional measures are taken to ensure passenger safety.

  • Pay with a card and use 'Tap' where possible
    Please use electronic payment (Debit, Credit or Experience™ Card) only during this time. 

  • All food and retail outlets are closed until further notice

  • Baggage service suspended on south coast routes only until further notice

  • Customers requiring wheelchair assistance
    We are unable to provide wheelchair assistance 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.
 

New 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. On Sunday, April 5, Transport Canada announced new measures for ferries during this situation. 

BC Ferries already had many of the measures in place, including limiting passenger capacity to support physical distancing, allowing customers to remain in their vehicles during the sailing and enhanced cleaning. 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.

Moving forward, 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 boarding a BC Ferries ship, 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?

If you answer yes to any of the questions above, or refuse to answer, 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 should 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.

We are in this together and all need to do our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more details on Transport Canada’s announcement, click here.  
View the screening questions as posted at our terminals here.

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, and transporting emergency workers, doctors and nurses, safely.

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

 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------