B.C. Ferries has reduced its sailings for the next 60 days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, April 8, the company announced reduction route schedules for the Southern Gulf Islands, “to protect the health and safety of communities and ferry workers, ensure the resiliency of the coastal ferry service, and better match ferry service to current demand.”
The new schedules come into effect April 10.
The remaining Southern Gulf Islands routes are aimed to support the transportation of essential goods, and will provide options for inter-island travel.
The route from Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Island is being combined as a “one ship service” on the Salish Raven vessel from Swartz Bay. According to BC Ferries, the vessel will go back and forth between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, stopping at Pender, Mayne and Galiano.
The route from Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island is suspended, but the other two routes which serve Salt Spring remain in operation.
Ferry travel has been decreasing since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In March, B.C. Ferries CEO Mark Collins said ferry traffic was down about 40 per cent, and on March 25, the ferry corporation asked people to avoid non-essential ferry trips.
“BC Ferries is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy travel experience for its passengers and employees. At this time, the company is advising customers to avoid any non-essential travel, including the upcoming Easter long weekend,” stated BC Ferries in a press release.
“For those that need to travel, additional measures have been put in place to keep customers and crew healthy and safe.”
Bookings for reservations on the new schedule will be available soon. The company noted that any reservations that were cancelled due to schedule changes will automatically be refunded.
To see the revised schedules, or more information on extra measures put in place by BC ferries in response to COVID-19, please visit bcferries.com.