BC Ferries vessel (Supplied by BC Ferries)
As the May long weekend approaches, BC Ferries is reminding British Columbians you should be travelling for essential purposes only.
The company says this weekend no additional sailings are scheduled and it will continue to deny service to customers travelling for non-essential reasons on routes crossing regional zones.
These sailings include:
- Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay
- Tsawwassen – Duke Point
- Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands
- Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay
- Comox – Powell River
- Port Hardy – Prince Rupert
A spokesperson for BC Ferries, Tessa Humphries says since the restrictions came into effect last month, they’ve seen a decrease in ferry traffic.
“So we’re definitely seeing that the majority of our customers are abiding by those travel restrictions put in place by the province.”
She says on the route between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay they’ve seen a 69% dip in vehicle traffic and a 89% drop in passengers.
For the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay sailing, they’ve seen a 78 percent decrease in passengers and a 60% drop in vehicle traffic.
BC Ferries has even seen a drop in the Comox- Powell River route, with a 66% reduction in passengers and over 50 % percent drop in vehicle traffic.
Humphries adds that while BC Ferries is asking passengers whether or not they are travelling for essential reasons, they can only do so much.
“It is an honours system. The question that our ticket agents are asking is are you travelling for an essential reason and it is an honours system based on the customer’s response. We are not an enforcement agency. We have a good relationship with local police of jurisdiction at each of our terminals and we don’t hesitate to call in those authorities for enforcement when needed.”
She says it’s important to remember that others may be travelling for essential purposes, even if it might seem like they are not.
“But I also think it’s really important that we need to be calm, and be kind to other travellers out there as well. The province has a fairly significant list of customers who might be travelling for essential reasons, and as part of those lists include people travelling with an RV.”
“There are reasons that a customer could be traveling for essential reasons in an RV or a vehicle with out-of-town license plates. We are doing our part and asking that question, but it is an honours system.”
To see if your ferry trip counts as essential, or to book a sailing, visit the BC Ferries website.