April 4, 2023
Plans in place to protect extra sailings over EasterVICTORIA – More than 400,000 passengers and 160,000 vehicles are expected to travel with BC Ferries between April 6 and April 11. To meet higher demand, BC Ferries is adding extra sailings with a mitigation plan, including standby rosters and overtime, to guard against any last-minute service interruptions.
“Our dedicated staff are stepping up to give us a higher level of comfort to launch extra sailings over Easter,” said Dean Dobrinsky, Interim Vice President of People and Culture. “We can’t thank them enough for helping us to protect the long weekend service in the face of a continued shortage of licensed officers.”
BC Ferries is supporting 112 new licensed officers to complete training and certification requirements in anticipation of peak summer season starting in June. In the meantime, to bolster the lean staffing relief pools, some Chief Officers currently on educational leave have volunteered to be on standby while many employees are accepting overtime to fill other positions required to meet Transport Canada safety requirements.
“There’s no doubt, we’re still critically short of licensed officers and we have more work to do as we head into the summer, but we’ve pulled out all the stops to protect each and every Easter sailing,” adds Dobrinsky.
BC Ferries is scheduling more than 180 additional sailings to support travel over the Easter weekend between Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast as follows:
- 128 extra sailings between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Victoria (Swartz Bay)
- 42 extra sailings between Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) - Nanaimo (Departure Bay)
- 16 extra sailings between Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) - Sunshine Coast (Langdale)
To help make sure travel is as smooth as possible, customers are advised to:
- Book in advance – secure a spot early on the sailing day and time of choice. Customers with flexibility in their travel plans can sail at off-peak times to avoid the rush and take advantage of Saver fares on select sailings.
- Arrive early – Customers with a booking should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes before their anticipated sailing. Please refer to current conditions and plan accordingly.
- Expect sailing waits at popular times – Sailing waits are common during popular travel periods for customers without a booking. If bookings are sold out, the best option to avoid sailing waits is to travel during less busy times. These are typically mid-week days and early morning or late evening sailings.
- Ride-share, if possible – Customers are encouraged to carpool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space fills up quickly.
- Travel the coast car free – Take public transit to and from major terminals. For schedule information visit TransLink or BC Transit.
- Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals fill up quickly at peak periods. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion. When parking lots fill up, BC Ferries informs customers via Twitter @BCFerries and on the website.
- Know before you go – Check Current Conditions and All Routes at a Glance for the status of your sailing on your day of travel. Follow @BCFerries on Twitter for regular updates, seven days a week.
Over the past month, while less than 1.2 per cent of total sailings were cancelled, BC Ferries acknowledges it’s not the standard of service travellers deserve. In the event of sailing cancellations due to BC Ferries’ inability to secure the required number of staff, customers with bookings will be accommodated on the next available sailing where space is available. If a booking is cancelled, customers may be eligible for refunds or reimbursement through its “making it right program.”
For full schedule information, current conditions, bookings, and promotional offers, please visit bcferries.com. For the most up-to-date travel information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter.
- 30 -Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)