Swartz Bay. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Vancouver Island ferry travel lower on Easter long weekend than during the first weekend in April

BC Ferries spokesperson says Island routes saw a 14% reduction in passengers, compared to April 3-5

According to BC Ferries executive director of public affairs Deb Marshall, ferry traffic during the Easter long weekend (April 10-13) was down 14 per cent from the first weekend in April, 2020.

The B.C. and Alberta governments issued a joint statement prior to the long weekend, urging people to stay home, due to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public outcry ensued, as pictures of full ferry decks were posted on various media platforms, and people expressed disappointment at a perceived disregard to the plea.

An online petition was even created, requesting ferry access be limited to essential services/supplies and Island residents.

RELATED: Petition asking to restrict travel to Vancouver Island garners thousands of signatures

Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a statement Monday, April 13, declaring ferry traffic had diminished by 92 per cent over the Easter weekend of 2019.

RELATED: Vancouver Island ferry traffic down 92% compared to Easter 2019

The relevance of those numbers came into question, due to vast difference in the numbers of available sailings in 2019 compared to 2020.

As of Saturday, April 4, all service on the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay (Nanaimo-Vancouver) route has been ceased, and regular sailings on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point (Nanaimo) and Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay (Victoria) routes have been cut by 50 per cent.

Furthermore, the remaining active sailings have had their capacity reduced by 50 per cent, in accordance with the temporary Transport Canada regulations.

“The new temporary Transport Canada regulations say we can carry 50 per cent of the normal maximum passenger license limits,” explained Marshall in an email sent out April 11. “We are following in accordance with these new regulations. For example, a Spirit Class vessel is usually licensed to carry 2,100 passengers and crew, so now the maximum would be 1,050 passengers and crew.”

Black Press reached out to Marshall for travel figures comparing the Easter long weekend to the weekend prior – the first weekend of the new sailing schedule.

“On a system level, passenger traffic was 14 per cent lower this weekend (April 9-12), than the previous weekend (April 3-5) and vehicle traffic was 18 per cent lower,” she said, in an email response.

According to Dix, 14,633 passengers used the Island ferry routes over the course of the 2020 Easter long weekend.

Based on Marshall’s statement, approximately 17,000 ferry passengers used the Island routes the April 3-5 weekend.

Marshall added she does not believe comparing the Easter weekend to the previous weekend is a fair comparison.

“This is not an apple to apples comparison, due to [the] way traffic materialized over Easter (vs a typical weekend) and also significantly higher latent demand over Easter weekend, when compared to its surround weekends.

“This is why we believe Easter to Easter is a better comparison, for measuring customers’ response to health guidelines.”



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCFerries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Column: Sustainable society based on foundational services

Services tied to local populations puts sustainability above growth, says columnist

Beefs & Bouquets, July 1

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Consultant presents two options for Ravensong pool expansion project in Qualicum Beach

RDN committee defers decision until more information available on Parksville pool plans

Regional District of Nanaimo wants Sandpiper water quality issues addressed quickly

Area G director Wallace says situation is ‘unacceptable’

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

B.C. repairs COVID-19 emergency order for local government

Ombudsperson shut out as his recommendations implemented

No doctor assisted death allowed at Hamlets in Duncan

Faith-based company that owns facility believes in sanctity of life

Trump plans huge July 4 fireworks show despite DC’s concerns

Despite health concerns from D.C.’s mayor, no one apparently will be required to wear masks

Canadian engineer detained in Egypt released, needs treatment, family says

Yasser Albaz was detained at the Cairo airport after a business trip in February of 2019

RCMP arrest armed man on grounds near Trudeau residence

Officers descended on the sprawling estate Thursday morning.

Longtime Vancouver Island fishing family hooks into local market over wholesale

Locally caught fish are scarce in fishing towns, an irony one Sointula family is working to change

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Nanaimo woman sentenced to three years for trafficking heroin and fentanyl

Courtenay Cross will serve another 27 months after factoring in time already served

Most Read