June 2, 2021
BC Ferries announces results of first phase of community input on ferry schedules in the Southern Gulf Islands
Schedule review coincides with the introduction of a new Salish-Class ferry in 2022
VICTORIA – BC Ferries updated communities today on the feedback it received during Phase One of the Southern Gulf Islands Schedule Enhancement engagement. Of the over 2,500 people participating in the online engagement, close to 60 per cent identified as full-time residents of the Southern Gulf Islands, while close to 40 per cent identified as part-time residents or visitors.
With the introduction of a new Salish-Class vessel, the company will be introducing more capacity to the Southern Gulf Island routes in 2022. As part of this effort, BC Ferries is reaching out to island communities to help the company shape and evaluate possible enhancements to the sailing schedule using the new vessel.
Phase One of online consultation ran from February 16 to March 16, 2021 and asked for community input on criteria that BC Ferries will use to help evaluate schedule options during Phase Two of engagement. Southern Gulf Island communities and visitors identified their top three evaluation criteria as: frequency; preferred sailing times; and capacity. Preferred sailing times varied by island, but focused on supporting travel to and from Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay for day trips, tourism, visitor and part-time resident travel needs, commuter needs and the movement of commercial goods and services.
BC Ferries is now developing schedule options to provide enhanced service to Southern Gulf Island routes taking into consideration the feedback received from the communities, In Phase Two of engagement, the company will work with Ferry Advisory Committees and Southern Gulf Island communities to evaluate the schedule options using the criteria established during Phase One. With community input, BC Ferries will produce final schedules for Southern Gulf Island routes later this year.
“We appreciate the input we received from the communities as it is very important to hear from those who rely on our service,” said Brian Anderson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement. “The Southern Gulf Islands is our most complex scheduling region, and we will continue to work closely with our Ferry Advisory Committees and Southern Gulf Island communities to explore how best to meet the needs of all five islands and many different user groups.”
BC Ferries last engaged with Southern Gulf Island communities about schedules in 2015. Feedback collected during the 2015 engagement efforts will continue to inform the enhancements and improvements BC Ferries is exploring for 2022.
For more information or to join the conversation, visit bcferriesprojects.ca/sgi.
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