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B.C. Ferries bracing for busy terminals over the long weekend

Mobile check-in service intended to help speed up lineups for travellers with reservations
B.C. Ferries is offering travel tips ahead of what is traditionally the busiest weekend of the year at ferry terminals. (News Bulletin file photo)

B.C. Ferries is offering travel tips to those planning to sail back and forth across the strait on what is traditionally the busiest weekend of the year at ferry terminals.

The ferry corporation issued a press release in advance of the B.C. Day long weekend, noting that Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday morning, July 29-31, are expected to be the most popular travel times from the mainland and Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 2-3, are expected to be the most popular travel days from the Island.

B.C. Ferries recommends travellers book their sailings online in advance, but if reservations are sold out, travellers should be prepared for sailing waits.

“Customers planning to travel on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route without a reservation should travel on either the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay or Tsawwassen-Duke Point route instead,” B.C. Ferries recommended in the press release.

The ferry corporation noted that it is rolling out a mobile check-in service at Horseshoe Bay, Tsawwassen, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals.

“There are occasions at the major terminals where checking in at the booth is unable to meet the demand of arriving traffic, causing traffic to backup beyond the pre-ticketing areas…” the release noted. “Follow traffic control flaggers and have your booking reference number ready upon arrival at the ticket booth to speed up the check-in process if you have an advanced booking.”

Customers with an advanced booking are asked to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure, and walk-on passengers should be there 45 minutes before their sailing.

B.C. Ferries is also reminding customers that parking lots fill up quickly on weekends in the summer, and suggests travellers consider public transit or make arrangements to be dropped off at terminals.

With the weekend expected to be a hot one, B.C. Ferries recommends travellers to bring plenty of water for themselves and their pets.

The ferry corporation has various health and safety procedures in place and recommends masks for travellers 12 and older who aren’t fully vaccinated.

“High traffic volumes can be stressful for both customers and employees,” B.C. Ferries notes. “We do not tolerate any abuse, including verbal abuse, towards employees. Our employees are doing their best to meet everyone’s needs and we take this matter seriously.”

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READ ALSO: B.C. Ferries reporting 5-sailing wait at Horseshoe Bay

READ ALSO: B.C. Ferries anticipating ‘pent-up demand’ following the lift of travel restrictions

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