BC Ferries adjusted service levels due to Covid-19 pandemic
BC Ferries says it is adjusting service levels across multiple routes for the next 60 days to protect the health and safety of communities and ferry workers, ensure the resiliency of the coastal ferry service, and better match ferry service to current demand. The Coastal Ferry Services Contract with the Province of British Columbia has been amended to permit these service reductions.
Across the ferry network, capacity will be reduced by approximately half over this time last year. Most service reductions will go into effect on Saturday, April 4 for a period of 60 days. During this time, BC Ferries will monitor service levels in conjunction with the Province to ensure essential service levels are maintained and to determine when services should resume to normal levels.
“These changes are designed to ensure we have sufficient capacity to allow the flow of essential goods, services, supplies and workers to their destinations,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We will continue to transport the goods communities rely on, and we will get people to where they need to go.”
Effective Saturday, April 4, 2020, service level adjustments are as follows: Regular sailings on the Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen - Duke Point are reduced to four round trips a day from the present eight on both routes; Four additional “cargo only” round trips will be provided on the Tsawwassen - Duke Point route, to ensure essential goods are transported to and from Vancouver Island; Service on the Langdale – Horseshoe Bay route is reduced to six round trips a day from the present eight; All service on the Horseshoe Bay - Nanaimo route is suspended; All service on the Mill Bay - Brentwood Bay route is suspended; For northern and mid-coast communities, service will continue to operate at the current off-peak (winter) service levels. The summer direct service from Bella Coola to Port Hardy will not be introduced at this time; Changes will be coming to the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands and Swartz Bay – Southern Gulf Islands service. Details are currently being finalized and will be announced soon.
The remaining routes and schedules are unchanged for now. Maintaining the delivery of essential goods and services and ensuring that health care and other essential workers can continue to use the ferry to commute to work will be a priority.
“Through this challenging time, our employees have demonstrated courage and determination to support coastal ferry service,” said Collins. “Unfortunately, these service level reductions will result in temporary layoffs for hundreds of dedicated and loyal employees. Our goal is to keep the temporary layoffs to as short as possible. We need all these skilled people back as soon as possible to help restore ferry services when traffic returns.”
BC Ferries is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy travel experience for its passengers and employees. At this time, the company is advising customers to avoid any non-essential travel. For those that need to travel, additional measures have been put in place to keep customers and crew healthy and safe.