A majority of ferry users say new schedules on the Gabriola Island and Quadra Island routes will meet their travel needs, says B.C. Ferries.
The ferry corporation shared results of public engagement in advance of new ferries entering service on the Campbell River-Quadra Island and Nanaimo Harbour-Gabriola Island routes.
Two new Island Class ferries are bound for each run, increasing number of sailings and passenger loads, leading to shorter wait times, less congestion and more service, says B.C. Ferries. Engagement sessions were held with both communities related to ferry schedules, and 57 per cent of Nanaimo-Gabriola respondents said they “believed the proposed schedule met community needs.”
In addition, Nanaimo-Gabriola feedback sought assurances that there would be “enough capacity to serve morning peak times” and provision of service in “regular intervals” in the evening hours in order to accommodate children participating in after-school activities and people working shifts.
For respondents of Campbell River-Quadra Island, 55 per cent said the schedule proposal met the needs of the community. They also sought service as close to 90 minutes as possible, said the press release, as well as two-ship service later in the day for commuters to Vancouver Island.
Respondents also wanted B.C. Ferries to know of the impacts the two-ship service and new schedule had on Cortes Island residents using the Campbell River-Quadra Island route.
The results will be reviewed by B.C. Ferries and adjustments will be made prior to the release of schedules later in the summer. The schedules will be monitored during the first few months of service, B.C. Ferries said.
Consultation consisted of meetings with local ferry advisory committees, online engagement and virtual meetings and B.C. Ferries said it was grateful for the feedback.
“It is important to hear from those who rely on our service,” said Brian Anderson, B.C. Ferries’ vice-president of strategy and community engagement, in the release. “We are excited to introduce two new vessels to each of these routes, providing communities with more frequent service, and with ferries that will improve customer experience and greatly reduce environmental impact over the long term.”
B.C. Ferries anticipates the vessels will enter service in early 2022.