A drastic drop in demand for travel on B.C. Ferries has resulted in changes to service on numerous local routes.
B.C. Ferries announced today (April 3) that it is reducing its service on numerous routes for the next two months in order to protect the health and safety of communities and ferry workers, and to adjust to a decrease in travellers.
As of Saturday (April 4), B.C. Ferries will introduce service reductions that will remain in effect for 60 days and will, in conjunction with the province, continue to monitor the situation to ensure that essential service levels are maintained and to determine when services can be restored to previous levels.
All service on the Horseshoe Bay–Departure Bay, which links West Vancouver and Nanaimo, and Mill Bay–Brentwood Bay routes are suspended.
Sailings on the Horseshoe Bay–Langdale route, which connects West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast, is reduced from eight to six round trips per day.
Sailings on the Tsawwassen–Swartz Bay (which connects Metro Vancouver and Victoria) and Tsawwassen–Duke Point (linking Vancouver and Nanaimo) routes are each reduced from eight to four round trips per day. (Four cargo-only sailings on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route are being added for the transport of essential goods).
Changes for the Tsawwassen–Southern Gulf Islands and Swartz Bay–Southern Gulf Islands routes are still being determined and will be announced soon.
Meanwhile, service to all northern and mid-coast communities will remain at current off-peak service levels. The summer direct service on the Bella Coola–Port Hardy route won’t be introduced during this period.
All other routes are unchanged for the present.
Unfortunately, B.C. Ferries president and CEO also stated in a news release that these reductions will consequently result in temporary layoffs for employees.
While B.C. Ferries did not specify the amount of affected employees in their news release, CBC News reported that 1,400 employees are being laid off and that there has been an 80 percent decline in passengers.