Additional sailings are beginning for 10 B.C. Ferries routes from the Southern Gulf Islands to the North Coast. (B.C. Ferries)

Most of restored B.C. Ferries sailings set to start on April 1

Low-volume early and late ferry runs were cancelled in 2014

The B.C. government’s $5.8 million subsidy increase for B.C. Ferries to restore low-volume sailings that were cut in 2014 means most of the extra sailings will be leaving the dock starting April 1, Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says.

The 2,700 sailings per year are added to minor routes from the Southern Gulf Islands up to Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii by increasing the $180 million annual provincial subsidy to B.C. Ferries to cover the costs.

Additional sailings from Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island are to be increased in early April after a community survey, B.C. Ferries said in a statement Thursday. The Alliford Bay-Skidegate route between Haida Gwaii islands requires additional staff to go from 12-hour operation to 16 hours, and will begin once recruiting and relocating staff is complete.

When former transportation minister Todd Stone implemented the reductions in April 2014, he said they were necessary to make the ferry service viable. Stone cited the Monday night sailing between Alliford Bay and Skidegate that had an average load of one passenger and one vehicle.

READ MORE: MLAs spar over ferry impacts on killer whales

READ MORE: Debit cards OK for B.C. Ferries, except loading

The Inside Passage route between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, the longest and most heavily subsidized B.C. Ferries route, needs vessel refit and staff recruitment to add more service at the start of the summer, B.C. Ferries said it is investigating the feasibility of extending the summer schedule into the fall of this year, with more service to be added next year.

The 2013 service review reported the vehicle usage of each affected sailing. For Campbell River to Quadra Island, where Trevena lives, the 8 p.m. ferry was running at less than five per cent capacity seven days a week.

Additional sailings are to begin April 1 on the following routes and users should check B.C. Ferries’ schedule to find adjusted sailing times:

• Crofton-Vesuvius

• Earls Cove-Saltery Bay

• Horseshoe Bay-Bowen Island

• Port Hardy-Mid-Coast-Prince Rupert

• Powell River-Texada Island

• Campbell River-Quadra Island

• Quadra Island-Cortes Island

Transport Canada rules require that B.C. Ferries vessels be fully staffed regardless of passenger load so that a ferry at full capacity can be evacuated in case of emergency.

The 2014 reductions also included the elimination of free senior fares from Monday to Thursday across the B.C. Ferries fleet, which have since been restored by the NDP government. The 2014 service review was estimated to save more than $18 million per year.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP searching for missing Lax Kw’alaams resident

Public urged to help in search for 42-year-old Lawrence Maitland

Coast Tsimshian sign historic stewardship agreement

Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla plan to work as one to preserve traditional lands

Northern Escape Heli Skiing makes way for its first resort lodge in Terrace area

Expected to increase tourism, provide more employment

Pacific Northern Gas moves to reinstate full capacity and expand pipeline

Increased supply and demand could mean lower rates for North Coast customers, PNG says

Terrace Industrial Park build-out continues

Containerized LNG, forestry among potential manufactured goods

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Horgan hints at Daylight Saving Time changes after record survey response

More than 223,000 online surveys were submitted in the government’s public consultation

Coroner investigating after body recovered from Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Overdoses overwhelming in B.C. Interior

Part two: Who’s affected by the current opioid crisis

Kelowna cab driver charged with sexual assault

RCMP received a report May 28 alleging a taxi passenger had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver

Jurors talk about trial of U.S. man convicted in 1987 murders of B.C. couple

Three jurors offer a window into deliberations during the trial

Tubing world record broken on Vancouver Island

But record for length of tubes linked together still has to be confirmed

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Most Read