Travel Advisory: COVID-19 Update - Important information - Last updated January 11, 2021 View ×

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.

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. BC Ferries does not tolerate any abuse, including verbal abuse, towards its employees. A customer who abuses an employee will be denied service.

On January 7, 2021 Dr. Bonnie Henry announced an update to the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 - February 5, 2021), for more information click here. BC Ferries advises customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time – this includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province. If this new Provincial Health Officer restriction affects your travel plans please contact us to change or cancel your booking. Reservations fees for existing bookings will be refunded if travel must be cancelled as a result of Provincial Health Order (PHO) travel restrictions, please contact us in advance of travel. This applies to travel occurring during the PHO travel restriction period. 

 

Masks are mandatory

All passengers must wear non-medical masks or face coverings when at terminals and on board ferries except:

  • When inside a vehicle
  • When consuming food or drinks, provided physical distancing is maintained
  • Children under 2 years of age
  • Medical condition or disability that inhibits the ability to wear a mask
  • Persons unable to place or remove a mask without assistance
  • BC Ferries employees working behind a physical barrier or within employee only areas provided physical distancing is maintained

 

* In the event that a passenger cannot wear a mask or face covering due to medical reasons, BC Ferries may require passengers to present documentation from a healthcare professional. This is a new Transport Canada requirement for ferry operators across Canada.

Passengers are reminded to continue to maintain physical distance while wearing a mask.
 
As defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, a mask should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops, be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen) and be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping.

 

Transport Canada - Closed deck regulation - reinstatement on September 30th

The temporary flexibility Transport Canada granted ferry operators that allows passengers to remain in their vehicle on enclosed vehicle decks is being rescinded by the regulator on September 30th, 2020. Transport Canada allowed this temporary flexibility earlier this summer in response to COVID-19. BC Ferries must comply with Transport Canada regulations. Starting on September 30th, passengers loaded on enclosed lower decks will be required to leave their vehicles.

Learn more about the reinstatement of the Transport Canada regulation

View frequently asked questions

 

Transport Canada - COVID-19 screening

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? Note: A provincial/territorial or local public health order is typically a quarantine order issued to a person who has tested positive or is presumed positive to COVID-19
  5. Are you in possession of a face covering that covers your mouth and nose, and do you agree to wear this covering when outside your vehicle at terminals and while on board ferries?

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.

View more details on Transport Canada’s announcement

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

Malahat Nation

Malahat Nation is currently under a Shelter in Place order that took effect January 8, 2021.

We ask that all Mill Bay ferry customers please wear a mask when on, or transiting to BC Ferries Mill Bay terminal outside of a vehicle. Commuting customers please see the request below from Malahat Nation regarding parking on Mill Bay Road.

For further information, please see malahatnation.com.

 

Northern routes

For more information on our current Northern schedules, 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.
For more information about travel and restrictions in these northern communities, see:

Foot passengers

When travelling, we require customers wear a face covering onboard or in our terminals. Reservations for foot passengers are available for travel between Tsawwassen - Southern Gulf Islands and our North Coast routes, and can now be made online.  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

Customers with BC Ferries Vacation bookings affected by the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 - February 5, 2021) can contact us to change or cancel their booking. 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:

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5 pm
  • Weekends and statutory holidays: 9 am – 5 pm

 

Additional information

  • Customers requiring wheelchair assistance: We are unable to provide wheelchair assistance at terminals or on board ferries. If you require a wheelchair, request one at the terminal. We ask that you travel with your own wheelchair assistant if required.

  • For more information on travelling with BC Ferries during the COVID-19 Pandemic click here
  • Updates from our President and CEO Mark Collins

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.

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Texada (Blubber Bay) - Comox (Little River) direct service pilot

On February 19, 2020 we launched a pilot offering direct service on select days between Blubber Bay terminal on Texada Island and Little River terminal in Comox. BC Ferries developed this pilot in cooperation with the Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee for the convenience of Texada Island travellers.

Since the pilot was launched we have been listening to feedback from customers and employees on the route. Thank you for your patience and input as we continue to learn and make changes based on early results of the pilot. We all share the goal of making this pilot successful while minimizing the effect on the regular service of this route.
Texada Island (Blubber Bay) - Comox (Little River) Schedule
Every Wednesday and Saturday, the first sailing departing Westview terminal in Powell River will make a stop at Blubber Bay to load vehicle and foot passengers, prior to continuing on to Little River terminal in Comox. On the last sailing every Wednesday and Saturday departing from Comox, Texada Island - bound customers will have the opportunity to sail directly to Blubber Bay.

> View schedule.

Travelling on the direct service
The direct service provided by this pilot is non-reservable. Customers will be boarded on the sailing based on the order they arrived at the terminal. Comox (Little River) bound customers boarding at Texada Island (Blubber Bay) will pay their fares on board the vessel at the cashier. Texada-bound customers will purchase their fares at Comox (Little River) terminal. There are 10 guaranteed spots for standard vehicles on the direct service sailings from Comox (Little River) and Texada Island (Blubber Bay) terminals. Customers will be loaded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Additional vehicles in excess of the guaranteed 10 will be loaded at Texada Island (Blubber Bay) if deck space is available and accessible. The crew on board will decide if there is space for more than 10 vehicles. They base their decision to load more vehicles on safety parameters and maintaining on-time performance. There is no guarantee that more than 10 vehicles will be loaded. There are no limits in effect for walk-on passengers.

For Texada Island (Blubber Bay) bound passengers, the guarantee of 10 vehicle spaces reserved at the Comox (Little River) ferry terminal remains in place, even if more than 10 vehicles were loaded at Texada Island (Blubber Bay) earlier that same day. However, if additional vehicles bound for Texada Island (Blubber Bay) via Powell River (Westview) arrive at the Comox (Little River) terminal they may be discharged at Texada, at the discretion of the crew, under the following conditions:
  • They are ticketed to travel through to Powell River (Westview).
  • They are in an area on the vehicle deck the allows for safe and efficient unloading at Texada Island (Blubber Bay) without affecting other Powell River-bound vehicles.
There is no guarantee of additional vehicles being unloaded at Blubber Bay and they are not eligible for any fare refund if unloaded there.

Customers departing from Texada Island:
Customers departing from Blubber Bay should stage their vehicles in the small lot off the left side of the road just prior to reaching the terminal. The lot will have signage indicating it is in use for these specific sailings, and customers are required to arrive a minimum of 30 minutes prior to scheduled sailing time. A staff member will direct vehicles from the lot when the vessel is ready to load. Customers will pay fares at the cashier in the Coastal Café on board the vessel. Fares are as follows:
  • $35 for standard vehicle
  • $10.95 for the driver, adult passengers in a vehicle or adult foot passengers
  • B.C. seniors travelling on Wednesdays when the senior discount applies, will pay $35 for the vehicle only
  • The Experience™ Card will not be available as an on board payment method
Cash, credit and debit are acceptable payment methods on board.

Customers departing from Little River:
Customers departing from Little River also must arrive a minimum of 30 minutes prior to sailing time and will pay fares at the ticket booth prior to being directed to an applicable staging lane. Fares for the 10 guaranteed vehicles are as follows:
  • $35 for standard vehicles
  • $13.50 for adult passengers ($10.95 with Experience Card)
Note that all Texada Island (Blubber Bay) bound vehicles over the guaranteed allocation of 10 will pay the regular fare for the Comox (Little River) - Powell River (Westview) route (see 'Travelling on direct service' above). Current payment methods include cash, credit and Experience™ Card.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is this pilot happening?
A. The Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) for Powell River and Texada Island submitted a request for direct service between Blubber Bay and Little River. Working with the FAC, we have developed a pilot that will provide a direct link between Blubber Bay and Comox (Little River) by stopping at Blubber Bay two days a week using the Salish Class ferry that services the route between Comox (Little River) to Powell River (Westview). This service will provide Texada Island residents with direct access to Comox instead of having to travel to Powell River first.

Q. When did the pilot start?
A. The first opportunity to travel on these new sailings will be Wednesday, February 19, 2020.

Q. How many sailings will there be?
A.
  • The first sailing of the day on Wednesday and Saturdays from Powell River (Westview) will pick up customers in Blubber Bay wishing to travel to Comox (Little River)
  • The last sailing of the day on Wednesday and Saturdays from Comox (Little River) will make a stop at Blubber Bay on its way to Powell River (Westview) to drop off Texada Island customers
> View schedule.

Q. What are the fares for travelling between Texada Island and Comox?
A. Fares for the direct service pilot are $35 for a standard vehicle, $10.95 for drivers, adult passengers in a vehicle and walk-on adult passengers. These fares apply to all customer departures from Texada Island (Blubber Bay) and up to the guaranteed allocation of 10 vehicles at Comox (Little River). See above for conditions for Texada-bound vehicles above the guarantee of 10. All Blubber Bay (Texada) bound vehicles over the guaranteed allocation of 10 will pay the regular fare for the Little River (Comox) – Westview (Powell River) route. Find fare information here.

The free BC Seniors walk-on passenger fare applies to Wednesday departures, BC Seniors will only pay the $35 fare for a vehicle on this day. Fares are collected for one way travel only. Customers boarding at Blubber Bay pay their fares on board the ferry at the cashier in the Coastal Café.

NOTE: TAPs forms will be accepted as payment for all sailings.

Q. How do I travel on this new service?
A. The direct service provided by this pilot is non-reservable. Customers will be boarded on the sailing based on the order they arrived at the terminal. Comox (Little River) bound customers boarding at Texada Island (Blubber Bay) will pay their fares on board the vessel at the cashier. Texada Island - bound customers will purchase their fares at Little River terminal. Deck space for 10 vehicles will be provided in each direction during the pilot on a first-come, first-served basis. Space over and above the guaranteed 10 vehicle spots will be made available at the discretion of the crew on board based on safety and on-time performance factors. There are no limits in effect for walk-on passengers.

Q. Can more than 10 vehicles be loaded if there is lots of space on board?
A. There are 10 guaranteed spots available for vehicles on the direct service sailings to and from Blubber Bay on Texada Island. These spots are allocated on a first-come, first served basis. The crew on board will decide if there is space for more than 10 vehicles. They base their decision to load more vehicles on safety parameters and maintaining on-time performance. There is no guarantee that more than 10 vehicles will be loaded. There are no limits in effect for walk-on passengers. As the pilot progresses, all factors of the pilot, including the vehicle allocations, will be reviewed with the Ferry Advisory Committee to ensure it is meeting the needs of all communities.

Q. Why is there a limit on the number of vehicles that can take the direct service?
A. Setting aside a guarantee of 10 spaces at all three terminals provides travel certainty and consistency for customers. The same number of vehicles are loaded every sailing. The loading and unloading of vehicles at Blubber Bay terminal takes time, and is dependent on factors such as how many and what type of vehicles are on board, as well as how they are staged on the vehicle decks. Setting a limit on the number of vehicles ensures sailings remain on schedule for all customers. Also, customers boarding at Blubber Bay pay fares on board, and the crew must have sufficient time to process all transactions prior to arrival in Comox. Another reason for limiting the number of vehicles on each sailing is related to roadway safety. Vehicles arriving for these sailings line up in areas with restricted holding space. Limiting the number of vehicles minimizes the risk of safety hazards and congestion on local roadways near the terminal. Finally, the stops at Blubber Bay are a modification of a regular route that BC Ferries is required to provide as a part of the Coastal Ferries Services Contract. We are obligated to provide sufficient capacity between Comox (Little River) and Powell River (West view) and it is our responsibility to ensure that this pilot does not interfere with that service.

Q. Is this service available to book for commercial, bus or motorcycle travel?
A. No. Due to space and loading constraints, buses, commercial vehicles and motorcycles cannot book travel on the direct service at this time. The primary objective of the pilot is to give Texada Island residents direct access to Comox. The pilot is available to private vehicles for personal travel. Private over-height vehicles may also travel on this direct service, the maximum length for a private vehicle (under-height or over-height) for the pilot will be 25 feet.

Q. When should I show up at the terminal?
A. At least 30 minutes prior to the sailing, and not more than 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. Customers boarding on Texada Island should stage their vehicles in the small lot off the left side of the road just prior to reaching the terminal. The lot will have signage indicating it is in use for these specific sailings, and a staff member will direct vehicles from the lot when the vessel is ready to load.

Q. Does this pilot impact or change the service from Powell River (Westview) to Blubber Bay on board the North Island Princess?
A. No. There are no conflicts with the service provided by the North Island Princess. It will continue to provide service as normal.

How long will the pilot last?
The pilot will be in place for up to two years with ongoing analysis of its viability. Success of the pilot will be measured by a number of factors including the mitigation of additional costs, how well used the sailings are, fare payments, effectiveness of the modified schedule, ongoing safe and secure operations and continued support from all communities involved.