British Columbia

B.C. Ferries advises travellers to be patient during its busiest long weekend of the year

B.C. Ferries says this will be its busiest long weekend of the year, with plans to move around 140,000 vehicles and 400,000 passengers across 2,500 sailings from Thursday to Monday.

Passengers without reservations should prepare for long waits in hot weather, spokesperson says

A number of people with luggage approach a B.C. Ferries terminal.
B.C. Ferries is asking travellers to be patient during the B.C. Day long weekend. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Ferry passengers travelling this long weekend are being advised to pack a lot of patience alongside their swimsuits.

B.C. Ferries says this will be its busiest long weekend of the year, with plans to move around 140,000 vehicles and 400,000 passengers across 2,500 sailings from Thursday to Monday.

Those who plan to travel without a reservation should prepare to face long waits during peak times amid hot weather, spokesperson Deborah Marshall said.

Those looking to avoid long waits should consider travelling during off-peak hours. Passengers should also consider carpooling or travelling as a foot passenger, she said.

"This is the busiest long weekend of the year so please do pack your patience," Marshall said. 

A woman with white hair rolls a suitcase near a B.C. Ferries terminal.
B.C. Ferries is urging foot passengers to arrive around 45 minutes prior to their scheduled departure. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The long weekend comes in the wake of several cancellations and delays this summer, largely due to crew shortages.

Earlier in the week, B.C. Ferries cancelled evening sailings between Swartz Bay in Victoria and Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island because of a staffing shortage. Marshall said Thursday those sailings on Friday and Saturday have been reinstated.

Last Friday, B.C. Ferries announced it had fired president and CEO Mark Collins, who had led the company since 2017. Marshall said at that time that B.C. Ferries had cancelled 173 sailings over the past 28 days.

B.C. Ferries has hired about 850 employees over the past several months and around 120 employees who were on unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 vaccination policy have returned, Marshall said Thursday.

The operator is not expecting any cancellations over the long weekend, she added, but passengers should keep an eye on the B.C. Ferries website or Twitter account for updates. 

Passengers with bookings should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes early while walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes ahead of their anticipated sailing. 

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