British Columbia

Off-peak sailing discounts coming for major BC Ferries routes

BC Ferries plans to remove reservation fees for certain sailings, in an effort to encourage people to choose to travel during off-peak times.

The planned changes will affect passengers who make reservations

BC Ferries plans to remove reservation fees for sailings during off-peak times on its major routes between Vancouver Island and the mainland. (Robb Douglas/CBC)

A ride on BC Ferries routes between the mainland and Vancouver Island on a long weekend or other busy time will often include multiple sailing waits and long lines. The ferry system is beyond capacity during those times, and it can drive up passenger frustration.

In an effort to reduce that pressure on the ferry system, BC Ferries is planning to remove reservation fees for certain sailings.

According to spokesperson Deborah Marshall, the hope is people will choose to travel when there's plenty of space on the ships.

"What we're looking at is offering discounts at off-peak times and the idea behind that would be to shift some of the discretionary traffic," said Marshall.

Marshall said the changes will only come to the three major routes between the mainland and Vancouver Island: Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay; Horsehoe Bay to Nanaimo; and Tsawwassen to Nanaimo,

She said walk-on passengers and people who arrive without reservations won't notice any difference — only people making off-peak reservations.

According to Marshall, the specific details will be revealed in the coming months, and BC Ferries is aiming to roll out the changes in the fall.

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