Despite a provincial order advising against non-essential travel, B.C. Ferries is seeing vessels at their pandemic-limited capacity in advance of the Victoria Day long weekend.
The Tsawwassen to Duke Point route has a two-sailing wait at the moment. As of 10 a.m. Friday, May 15, the 10:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. sailings from Tsawwassen to Duke Point have reached the capacity they are allowed to carry, according to B.C. Ferries’ website.
Sailings scheduled for 3:15 and 8:15 p.m. are 90 per cent of allowable passenger volume, while a 5:45 p.m. departure is at 80 per cent and a 10:45 p.m. sailing at 70 per cent.
There are no sailing waits in the other direction, from Duke Point to Tsawwassen. The Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route is not seeing any sailing waits.
“Routes are operating at 50-per cent capacity to support physical distancing, and passengers driving on board are encouraged to remain in their vehicles,” noted a social media post from the ferry corporation.
Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokesperson, told the News Bulletin the waits may not necessarily be due to people defying the provincial order.
“I think a good point to make about the Duke Point run right now is because the Horsehoe Bay-Departure Bay run is still temporarily suspended, all the traffic that wants to go from the Lower Mainland to the mid, and north part of Vancouver Island, is all going through the Duke Point run,” said Marshall.
When asked when the Departure Bay terminal could re-open, Marshall said that has not yet been determined. B.C. Ferries is working on plans currently to restore service throughout the fleet and will make an announcement when the time comes, she said.
“We’ve made a few tweaks on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay run adding a few extra sailings here and there,” said Marshall. “Sailings that were cargo-only sailings for example on the Duke Point run, we’re allowing more passengers to travel, but we’re closely looking at it. We know Phase 3 of the province’s lifting of restrictions are coming soon, at the beginning of June, so we are just devising plans and getting ready to start to restore service.”
In her daily address to the province Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s health officer, asked for people not to travel and stay close to home during the long weekend.