Record vehicle traffic supports Ferries' net income gain

 

BC Ferries released its first quarter results today for the three months ending June 30, 2022, which shows traffic, revenue, net earnings and expenditures are all up.

In the first three months, passenger and vehicle traffic increased 74 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year. This quarter marked the highest ever first quarter for vehicle traffic. When compared to the same period in fiscal 2020, a pre-COVID period, vehicle traffic is 3.8 per cent higher while passenger traffic is 6.3 per cent lower.

Revenues for the three months ending June 30, 2022 increased $35.7 million compared to the same period in the prior year, primarily as a result of higher traffic volumes and net retail sales, partially offset by lower applied Safe Restart Funding. Excluding Safe Restart Funding, revenues increased $93.2 million compared to the same period in the prior year. Net earnings for the first quarter were $7.9 million compared to $4.7 million in the same period the previous year.

Operating expenses in the quarter were $242.1 million, an increase of $31.3 million compared to the same period in 2021. This increase is mainly due to an increased number of sailings, resulting higher labour costs and fuel consumption, as well as higher fuel prices.

“We are emerging from the pandemic grateful to the federal and provincial governments for pandemic relief funding, and to BC Ferries’ employees for their commitment to put safety first, operate in the public interest, and ensure ferry travel is as reliable as possible,” said Jill Sharland, BC Ferries’ Interim President and CEO. “Going forward, our focus remains on ensuring the well being and safety of our employees and our customers.”

The company is experiencing the impact of crew shortages, which regrettably have resulted in cancellations on some routes. In the three months ended June 30, 2022, BC Ferries cancelled less than one per cent of scheduled round trips, due to crewing shortages. The company apologizes to its customers for these service interruptions and continues to take all reasonable steps to reduce the impact to the travelling public.

BC Ferries is an asset-intensive service, and the company recognizes the importance of operating in an environmentally, financially, and socially sustainable manner. Capital expenditures in this quarter totalled $26.5 million and included scheduled quarter-life upgrades to Coastal Class vessels, shoreline upgrades at the Tsawwassen terminal, information technology software and hardware upgrades, preparing the Salish Heron vessel for service, and various other projects. It is vital for BC Ferries to continue to invest in capital projects to help ensure the ferry system remains safe and reliable.

BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry operators in the world based on passengers transported annually and transportation infrastructure, and carried 17.9 million passengers and 8.5 million vehicles during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022. BC Ferries provides frequent year-round ferry transportation services to the west coast of Canada on 25 routes, currently supported by 39 vessels and 47 terminals. BC Ferries also manages other remote routes through contracts with independent operators.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This news release contains certain “forward looking statements”. These statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect management’s expectations regarding our growth, results of operations, performance, business prospects and opportunities, financial and business risks, and industry performance and trends. They reflect management’s current internal projections, expectations or beliefs and are based on information currently available to management. Some of the market conditions and factors that have been considered in formulating the assumptions upon which forward looking statements are based include traffic, the value of the Canadian Dollar relative to the US Dollar, inflation, interest rates, fuel costs, construction costs, and timelines, employment market the state of the economy, financial markets, demographics, the requirements of the Coastal Ferry Services Contract, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Examples of forward looking statements included in this release include, but may not be limited to, statements with respect to capital investment projects. In some cases, forward looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expect”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “predict”, “potential”, “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. A number of factors could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward looking statements. In evaluating these statements, prospective investors should specifically consider various factors including, but not limited to, the risks and uncertainties associated with: vendor non-performance, capital market access, interest rates, foreign currency, fuel price, and traffic volume fluctuations, the implementation of major capital projects, security, safety, and environmental incidents, confidential or sensitive information breaches, changes in laws, vessel repair facility limitations, economic regulatory environment changes, tax changes, and Indigenous rights and claims.

Actual results may differ materially from any forward looking statement. Although management believes that the forward looking statements contained in this release are based upon reasonable assumptions, investors cannot be assured that actual results will be consistent with these forward looking statements. These forward looking statements are made as of the date of this release, and British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances except as may be required by applicable law.

NON-IFRS MEASURES

In addition to providing measures prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), we present certain financial measures that do not have any standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS and therefore are

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., 500-1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 0B7
Tel (250) 978-1267 Fax (250) 978-1119 
bcferries.com/bcfnews
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211.

unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. These supplemental financial measures are provided to assist readers in determining our ability to generate cash from operations and improve the comparability of our results from one period to another. We believe these measures are useful in assessing operating performance of our ongoing business on an overall basis.

BC Ferries preparing for long BCDay holiday weekend

 

With the BC Day long weekend approaching, BC Ferries is preparing to move nearly 140,000 vehicles and more than 400,000 passengers. To manage the heavy traffic volumes, the fleet is operating at maximum capacity and will be providing more than 2,500 sailings and covering more than 22,000 nautical miles Thursday through Monday.

The Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Victoria (Swartz Bay) route, which is the busiest route in the fleet, will be serviced by four vessels that provide up to 32 sailings per day. The Metro Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) – Nanaimo (Departure Bay) route has three ships that deliver up to 24 sailings per day. On the Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Nanaimo (Duke Point) route, two vessels offer 16 sailings per day.

Summer service on the Metro Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) – Sunshine Coast (Langdale) route includes an additional vessel providing extra sailings Thursday through Monday. Between Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and the Southern Gulf Islands, a second ship will provide two additional sailings Monday to Thursday and four additional sailings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Customers can take advantage of Saver fares which can be booked on select off-peak sailings on many routes. They are the most affordable fare choice and help reduce the pressure on long line ups at peak travel times.
    
BC Ferries appreciates the professionalism of staff and the patience of customers as the company navigates one of the busiest long weekends of the year. Abusive behaviour will not be tolerated and everyone is encouraged to be respectful, kind, calm, and safe. 

B.C. Day and Summertime Travel Tips

  • Book in advance – Book early to secure a spot on the sailing time of your choice. Book online at bcferries.com. Customers with advance bookings do not experience sailing waits, even when multiple waits are reported. Customers with flexibility can travel at off-peak times to avoid the rush and in many instances travel at a reduced fare.
     
  • Customers travelling with vehicles without an advance booking will likely experience sailing waits at peak times. Be prepared for sailing waits if you are travelling without a booking. The best option to avoid sailing waits is to travel during less busy times. These are typically mid-week days and early morning or late evening sailings. 
     
  • Ride-share, if possible – Customers are encouraged to carpool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space fills up quickly.
     
  • Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals also fill up quickly on long weekends. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion. Parking lot status by terminal is provided via Twitter @BCFerries and on our website.
     
  • Arrive early – Customers with advance bookings should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes early for their anticipated sailing. If you have an important appointment or connection with an other ferry or flight, travel on an earlier ferry.
     
  • Travelling on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning of this long weekend is also an option since heavy traffic is expected Thursday and Friday, and Sunday afternoon and Monday.  It’s always a good idea to check current conditions before heading to the terminal and review the routes-at-a-glance page.
     
  • Prepare for warm weather – pack your sunscreen, a sun hat and plenty of water for you and your pets.

For full schedule information, travel tips, current conditions and bookings, click here. For the most up-to-date travel information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter.

 

BC Ferries fires President and CEO Mark Collins

Mark Collins

The British Columbia Ferry Services Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Jill Sharland as Interim President and CEO of BC Ferries, effective today.

Ms. Sharland is a senior finance and operations executive who is currently Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at BC Ferries. She will continue to fulfill her duties as CFO as she leads the company in the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable ferry service to coastal British Columbia.

Ms. Sharland replaces Mark Collins who is leaving BC Ferries, effective immediately. The board decided to end Mr. Collins’ contract, which will entitle him to severance in accordance with the terms of his contract. That amount has not yet been finalized.

A robust and professional search to select the company’s permanent CEO will soon be launched.

“We thank Mr. Collins for his hard work and dedication to BC Ferries. We wish him well in all future endeavours,” said Board Chair Joy MacPhail.

Mr. Collins joined BC Ferries in 2004 and held numerous executive-level positions before being appointed CEO in 2017. During that time, BC Ferries invested in upgrades to terminals, implemented a new fare flexibility model and made significant investments in fleet renewal.

"Like many organizations, BC Ferries has faced recent staffing shortages, service interruptions and COVID-related challenges. There are no quick fixes to these systemic challenges but as a board, we believe it is time for renewal, fresh ideas and a renewed commitment to the highest standards of customer service, safety and affordability," said Ms. MacPhail.

Ms. Sharland joined BC Ferries in 2020 bringing extensive experience as a financial executive specializing in strategic and operational planning and financial decision support in fast-paced, capital intensive and customer driven industries. Ms. Sharland is a Chartered Professional Accountant and holds a Masters of Business Administration from Queens University as well as an Honors Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology and Physiology from Western University.

The British Columbia Ferry Services Board will continue to provide oversight in the day-to-day operations of the ferry company.

Island Gwawis Gabriola sailings cancelled due to staffing

Island Gwawis Gabriola ferry sailings have been cancelled on Thurday, July 21 due to staffing problems. The second ship, the Island Kwigwis, is expected to sail on schedule.

Cancellations continue to plague ferry schedules

Additional issues have been discovered with the Queen of Alberni requiring critical machining to repair. In order to complete these and the earlier repairs to its main engine cylinder head and liner, the Queen of Alberni will remain out of service from today and Friday, July 1. 

Queen of Alberni cancelled sailings June 30:

7:40 am out of Departure Bay
10:00 am out of Horseshoe Bay
12:25 pm out of Departure Bay
2:45 pm out of Horseshoe Bay
5:00 pm out of Departure Bay
7:20 pm out of Horseshoe Bay
9:30 pm out of Departure Bay
11:40 pm out of Horseshoe Bay

Queen of Alberni cancelled sailings July 1:
7:40 am out of Departure Bay
10:00 am out of Horseshoe Bay
12:25 pm out of Departure Bay
2:45 pm out of Horseshoe Bay
5:00 pm out of Departure Bay
7:20 pm out of Horseshoe Bay

Other sailings on this route are expected to proceed as scheduled.

Ferries dangles deep discounts for Gabriola travellers

Now that summer has finally arrived, BC Ferries is launching a promotion on select sailings on 11 of its inter-island routes from July 6 through September 1 for local residents and vacationers to soak up the savings. The promotion is designed to encourage customers to travel on less busy sailings by giving them a discount, freeing up space at more popular times. 

Customers with flexibility in their travel plans can save significantly on standard or overheight vehicle fares when they travel on select early morning or late evening sailings. The promotion applies to specific inter-island (non-bookable) routes where there is capacity available.

The 75 per cent discount off the standard rate will be applied at the terminal and is not available for purchase in advance. BC Ferries recommends customers arrive early to ensure they make it on the sailing of choice.

Regular fares will apply for driver and passengers, however, those travelling with an Experience™ Card can still access savings on applicable routes for driver and passengers. Learn more about the BC Ferries Experience ™ Card.

The following routes are included in the promotion:

  • Victoria (Swartz Bay) to Salt Spring Island (Fulford Harbour)
  • Crofton (Crofton) to Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay)
  • Powell River (Saltery Bay) to Sunshine Coast (Earls Cove)
  • West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Bowen Island (Snug Cove)
  • Powell River (Westview) to Texada Island (Blubber Bay)
  • Nanaimo (Nanaimo Harbour) to Gabriola Island (Descanso Bay)
  • Chemainus (Chemainus) to Thetis Island (Preedy Harbour) to Penelakut Island (Telegraph Harbour)
  • Buckley Bay (Buckley Bay) to Denman Island (Denman Island West)
  • Campbell River (Campbell River) to Quadra Island (Quathiaski Cove)
  • Port McNeill (Port McNeill) to Malcolm Island (Sointula) to Cormorant Island (Alert Bay)
  • Graham Island (Skidegate) to Moresby Island (Alliford Bay)


Certain routes are not included in the promotion as traffic patterns indicate there are no lower-utilized sailings available during the peak season.

To learn more about the promotion, click here.

Travel tips for July long weekend from B.C. Ferries

The July long weekend marks the unofficial launch of summer and this year will involve holidays on both sides of the border. Not only will Canadians be celebrating the Canada Day long weekend, our American friends also will be commemorating Independence Day. For the first time in six years, July 1 and July 4 will bookend the same weekend. 

Vehicle volumes are expected to be very high throughout the summer. On major routes, schedules are designed to provide maximum capacity at peak travel times. 

The Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Victoria (Swartz Bay) route, which is the busiest route in the fleet, will be serviced by four vessels that will provide up to 32 sailings per day. The Metro Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) – Nanaimo (Departure Bay) route will be serviced by three ships that will deliver up to 22 sailings per day. On the Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Nanaimo (Duke Point) route, two vessels will offer 16 sailings per day. 

Summer service on the Metro Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) – Sunshine Coast (Langdale) route includes an additional vessel providing extra sailings Thursday through Monday. In addition, between Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and the Southern Gulf Islands, a second ship will provide two additional round trips Monday to Thursday and four additional round trips on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

BC Ferries understands the importance of providing reliable ferry service, especially for ferry dependent communities and customers who use the ferry system to get to work, school, medical appointments, or to visit family and friends. Transitioning to summer service levels required adjusting ship and crew schedules on some sailings. Customers with bookings on affected sailings are being contacted. 

Canada Day and Summertime Travel Tips 

• Book in advance – Book early to secure a spot on the sailing time of your choice. Book online at bcferries.com. Customers with advance bookings do not experience sailing waits, even when multiple waits are reported. Customers with flexibility can travel at off-peak times to avoid the rush and in many instances travel at a reduced fare. 

• Customers travelling with vehicles without an advance booking will likely experience sailing waits at peak times. Be prepared for sailing waits if you are travelling without a booking. The best option to avoid sailing waits is to travel during less busy times. These are typically mid-week days and early morning or late evening sailings. 

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., 500-1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 0B7 Tel (250) 978-1267 Fax (250) 978-1119 bcferries.com/bcfnews Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211. 

• Ride-share, if possible – Customers are encouraged to carpool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space fills up quickly. 

• Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals also fill up quickly on long weekends. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion. Parking lot status by terminal is provided via Twitter @BCFerries and on our website.  

• Arrive early – Customers with advance bookings should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes early for their anticipated sailing. If you have an important appointment or connection with an other ferry or flight, travel on an earlier ferry. 

• Travelling on Saturday of this long weekend is also an option since heavy traffic is expected Thursday into Friday morning and Sunday into Monday morning. It’s always a good idea to check current conditions before heading to the terminal and review the routes-at-a-glance page.  

• Prepare for warm weather – pack your sunscreen, a sun hat and plenty of water for you and your pets. 

For full schedule information, travel tips, current conditions and bookings, click here. For the most up-to-date travel information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter.

BC Ferries finances recovering but still not up to par

Coastal Inspiration

BC Ferries’ traffic, revenue, net earnings and expenditures are all up, however the financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022 (fiscal 2022) are still lagging behind pre- pandemic levels.

During the year, BC Ferries carried 17.9 million passengers and 8.5 million vehicles, an increase of 37 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively, compared to the prior year. While these increases are significant, passenger and vehicle traffic were 20 per cent and 5 per cent lower respectively, compared to the same period in fiscal 2019, a pre-COVID 19 year.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we are grateful to our employees for their commitment to put safety first, operate in the public interest, and ensure reliable ferry travel,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We are excited to see people travelling with us again and are adding staff to meet the increase in demand for our service.”

In the year ended March 31, 2022, BC Ferries experienced a net loss of $68.2 million prior to recognizing Safe Restart Funding. After recognizing $102.3 million of this federal-provincial funding, net earnings were $34.1 million, an increase of $13.1 million compared to the previous year, which included $186.0 million in Safe Restart Funding.

In December 2020, BC Ferries received $308 million through the Safe Restart Program, a federal-provincial initiative intended to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies. Assistance to the public transportation sector, including BC Ferries, has been a critical part of the BC Safe Restart Plan. Without this funding, BC Ferries would have recorded a total loss of
$233.2 million over the past two years ($68.2 million in fiscal 2022 and $165.0 million in fiscal 2021). The operating relief component of the Safe Restart Funding BC Ferries received has now been exhausted. The company does not foresee the need for any further COVID relief funding.

In fiscal the year ended March 31, 2022, revenue was $965.4 million, an increase of $100.1 million or 12 per cent compared to the prior year, primarily as a result of higher traffic volumes and net retail sales, partially offset by lower Safe Restart Funding.

Operating expenses in fiscal 2022 were $868.0 million, an increase of $88.2 million or 11 per cent compared to the prior year. This increase is mainly due to increases in the number of sailings provided, staff required to provide more service, fuel and maintenance expenses.

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., 500-1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 0B7
Tel (250) 978-1267 Fax (250) 978-1119 
bcferries.com/BCF news
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211.

Despite the pandemic, BC Ferries continued to make significant investments in new vessels, vessel upgrades, terminal infrastructures and information technology. Capital expenditures for fiscal 2022 totalled $171.3 million, up from $122.0 million in the prior year. BC Ferries continues to modernize the fleet and reduce its carbon footprint with the introduction of new ships. During fiscal 2022, four more battery-electric hybrid Island Class vessels and one more liquefied natural gas- fuelled Salish Class vessel were delivered to BC Ferries.

BC Ferries’ full financial statements, including notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis, are filed on SEDAR and will be available at www.sedar.com.

Ferries offers discount fares for some commercial sailings

BC Ferries is trialling a new Commercial Saver fare on select sailings on the Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Victoria (Swartz Bay) and the Vancouver (Tsawwassen) - Nanaimo (Duke Point) routes from now through October 12.

The Commercial Saver fare is ideal for customers who have the flexibility to travel during less busy sailing times, can book in advance and want travel certainty. Availability is limited on select sailings and fares are expected to sell out. Commercial Saver fares are not available for purchase at drive-up terminal ticket booths.

BC Ferries charges commercial vehicles per foot of length of the unit. The rate for these special fares will be $4.71 per foot. The current rate per foot on the major routes is $7.03 per foot. A commercial vehicle is defined as a vehicle over 5,500 kg registered gross vehicle weight, excluding buses and vehicles over nine feet wide.

Commercial Saver fares are designed to encourage commercial vehicle customers to take advantage of off-peak sailings, freeing up space at more popular sailing times for other vehicles. Not only does this promotion offer commercial vehicle customers with flexibility in their travel plans an opportunity to save, it will also help to spread vehicle traffic throughout the day, reducing sailing waits for all customers. If the trial is successful, look for more Commercial Saver fare discounts in the future.

To learn more or to take advantage of the savings, visit bcferries.com.

BC Ferries provides $10,000 in travel to war canoe races

The wakes from war canoes are sending ripples all along the west coast this summer. It’s a seasonal rite of passage where neighbouring Indigenous communities come together in a series of races that are both friendly competition and a connection to the past.

This year’s race schedule is made up of 20 events which started in May and runs through September. To help competitors get to those races, BC Ferries is providing $10,000 dollars in travel. It’s one of the larger in-kind travel donations offered under the company’s community investment program.

Stacy Seymour, a member of the Stz’uminus First Nation, is not only carrying on a community tradition at the races, but a family one. She paddles with the Rainbow Canoe Club which was started over 100 years ago by her great grandfather who passed it down from generation to generation keeping the legacy alive. 

"There was a time when I said I would never get into a war canoe," says Seymour. "But eventually I did and 20 years later I’m running the canoe club and wouldn’t have it any other way." 

The races offer a glimpse into what is a much longer, and deeper relationship with the war canoe. They were the main source of transportation connecting coastal communities to the mainland and were integral for hunting and fishing. 

"We recognize Indigenous Peoples as the original mariners of these coastal waters we are fortunate to sail everyday and that makes this an ideal event to support," says Janet Carson, Vice President, Marketing and Customer Experience with BC Ferries. "The war canoe is a powerful cultural symbol and we are honoured to support these athletes, and the events, as they inspire the next generation."

"It gives us all a sense of identity and belonging to our families," says Seymour. "The canoes represent the roots of our family histories and connects us to those traditions."

Seymour will compete alongside her daughters and nieces, but will do so sparingly. While the racing categories include singles, doubles, and sixes, Seymour will only compete in the elevens which is the main event.

"I'd rather just retire and be the grandma on the beach, but my daughter won’t let me," Seymour offers with a laugh.

For the girl who didn’t want to get in a war canoe she summarizes her experience like this, "I love it all, this keeps me busy, it’s who I am!"

BC Ferries invests in non-profit groups and community organizations to generate a beneficial social and environmental impact. BC Ferries engages coastal communities and employees to identify community and social investment opportunities in environmental education, health and sport, and vibrant communities. Depending on the initiative, BC Ferries may provide in-kind travel, partner with non-profit organizations on the delivery of programs and services, or encourage employees to volunteer and participate.

BC Ferries sponsors Prisma Festival in Powell River

VICTORIA – Thousands will set sail with BC Ferries this month bound for The Pacific Region International Summer Music Association (PRISMA) Festival in Powell River. This is the 10th anniversary for the event which runs June 13 to 25 and for the seventh consecutive year BC Ferries is proud to return as the presenting sponsor. The Festival brings together talented and enthusiastic classical musicians and fans to the community and the ancestral territories of the Tla’amin Nation.  

“BC Ferries helps weave the west coast fabric that connects the communities where we all live and work,” said Janet Carson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience. “We are honoured to be part of this festival and the opportunity it offers to support youth, foster young talent, and bring people together to enjoy a west coast music experience like no other.” 

Some of the key events of this year’s festival include the Gala Grand Opening Concert on June 16, the PRISMA on the Beach event which is a concert for the public on Willingdon Beach on June 18, and the Sail to the Symphony Matinee on June 25 where 300 foot passengers travel from Comox to Powell River for lunch and a serenade.

  • 9:55AM – Comox to Powell River
  • 5:15PM – Powell River to Comox


The first PRISMA festival took place in 2013 and since then the organization has mentored over 500 students from 32 countries while attracting internationally-renowned guest artists. More than 5000 people will attend the events, concerts, classes, and recitals every day and the PRISMA Festival Orchestra will perform three full symphony concerts for those in attendance.

“BC Ferries is the perfect fit as our presenting sponsor and it’s a partnership that has flourished over the years,” said Arthur Arnold, co-founder and artistic director of PRISMA. “Music is the soul of this event, but we are reminded of how the beauty of the region helps inspire the students and how marine travel amplifies the experience.” 

BC Ferries wants customers to know June 25 will be a popular travel day between Comox and Powell River with the Sail to the Symphony event and weekend travellers. Anticipate heavy traffic on the 9:55 am sailing from Comox and 5:15 pm sailing departing Powell River that day. To make an advance booking or check schedule information, visit bcferries.com. To book your PRISMA Festival Getaway in Powell River or find out more about BC Ferries Vacations packages on the Sunshine Coast, visit bcferries.com/vacations. For information on the 2019 PRISMA Festival visit prismafestival.com.

Alochol coming to some ferry routes by end of summer

Following a successful introduction of wine and beer service in the Pacific Buffet between October 2019 and March 2020 with no issues, BC Ferries applied for licences to sell alcoholic beverages with the purchase of a meal in select Coastal Cafes on board its vessels that sail the three major routes connecting Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. 

Recently, the company received approval in principle, subject to inspectors’ review, from the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for these licences. 

In the coming months, BC Ferries looks forward to introducing B.C. wine, craft beer, ciders and other alcoholic beverages to the menu in Coastal Cafes on vessels sailing the following routes: 

• _Tsawwassen (Vancouver) – Swartz Bay (Victoria) 
• _Tsawwassen (Vancouver) – Duke Point (Nanaimo) 
• _Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver) – Departure Bay (Nanaimo) 

BC Ferries continually seeks ways to enhance and add value to our customers’ experience and offering alcoholic beverages in select Coastal Cafes is in response to customer feedback. It will be served in limited quantities by staff who have their Serving It Right certification. Under the conditions of our licenses, alcoholic beverages will be limited to two drinks per customer 19 years of age or older, and must be purchased with a meal. 

BC Ferries expects to begin introducing the new offerings by the end of summer 2022 and will provide customers with an update when the details are finalized.

BC Ferries adds 110 sailings for May long weekend

 

22-05-16 – BC residents and visitors have places to go and people to see over the May long weekend, and BC Ferries wants the journey to be as enjoyable as possible.

BC Ferries has recently hired approximately 500 employees to support increased service levels and recruitment continues. From May 19 to 24, BC Ferries is scheduling 110 extra sailings on the most popular routes linking Metro Vancouver with Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Vancouver – Victoria route:

• 74 extra sailings on the most popular route Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay, including 6 a.m. sailings on May 19, 20, 21 and 24.

West Vancouver – Nanaimo and Sunshine Coast routes:

  • 25 extra sailings on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route

  • 11 extra sailings on the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route

    The highest volumes of travellers are generally seen leaving Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals Thursday and Friday afternoon, as well as Saturday morning. Historically, Monday afternoon is the most popular time for people to return from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

    Fun long weekend facts

  • Over the course of this weekend, BC Ferries will operate approximately 2,400 sailings to get travellers to their destination; that’s approximately 19,200 nautical miles, the driving distance from Vancouver to Halifax and back twice

  • Over 300,000 passengers and 100,000 vehicles will be transported from Thursday through Monday

  • Over 20,000 burgers, 5,000 bowls of ice cream and 21,000 cups of coffee will be served May Long Weekend Travel Tips

• Ride-share, if possible – Customers are encouraged to car-pool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space fills up quickly.

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., 500-1321 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 0B7
Tel (250) 978-1267 Fax (250) 978-1119 bcferries.com/bcfnews
Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency line at (250) 516-7211.

 

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  • Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals fill up quickly on long weekends. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion. When parking lots fill up, BC Ferries informs customers via Twitter @BCFerries and on our website.

  • Book in advance – Book early to secure a spot on the sailing time of your choice. Customers with flexibility can travel at off-peak times to avoid the rush. Book online at bcferries.com. Reserved customers have no sailing waits, even when multiple waits are reported.

  • Check-in – Follow traffic control flaggers, have your booking reference number ready upon arrival at the ticket booth to expedite the check-in process.

  • Arrive early – Customers with advance bookings should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes early for their anticipated sailing.

  • Be prepared for sailing waits if you are travelling without a booking. Non-reserved vehicle traffic can experience sailing waits at peak times.

    For full schedule information,travel tips, current conditions and bookings, click here. For the most up-to-date travel information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter.

BC Ferries raises fuel surcharge in line with fuel prices

 BC Ferries is advising customers that due to current fuel market conditions, the company will increase the fuel surcharge from 1.0 per cent to 2.5 per cent on June 1. BC Ferries closely monitors the cost of fuel and applies a rebate or surcharge, or neither, under a regulatory process that is set by the BC Ferries Commissioner. 

Here is an example of what a 2.5 per cent fuel surcharge will be: .45 cents for an adult and $2.00 for a vehicle and driver on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes, and .25 cents for an adult and $1.05 for a vehicle and driver on a variety of inter-island routes. 

Over the past 18 years, BC Ferries has been using a fuel rebate/surcharge mechanism to manage the volatility in the price of fuel. When fuel prices are lower, BC Ferries passes lower fuel prices on to customers through a fuel rebate. When fuel prices are higher, BC Ferries charges a fuel surcharge specifically designed to cover the additional cost of fuel. There have also been periods with neither. The company does not benefit financially from surcharges or rebates. 

BC Ferries has made significant investments to reduce its consumption of fuel and use cleaner, lower cost fuels, such as liquefied natural gas to replace the use of ultra-low sulphur diesel fuels. The company is also introducing battery-equipped ships designed for future full electric operation when shore charging infrastructure can be installed in B.C. Despite initiatives to burn fuel more efficiently, a fuel surcharge is necessary at this time. 

On June 1, a 2.5 per cent fuel surcharge will also be implemented on the Port Hardy – Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert – Haida Gwaii and Port Hardy – Central Coast routes. Currently there is neither a fuel surcharge nor rebate on those routes. 

For information regarding the cost of ferry travel, visit bcferries.com.

Limited sailing schedule extended into June

BC ferries has extended it’s schedule changes as a result of expected crewing challenges in the months ahead. The adjustments implemented on January 28, have been extended until June 22 on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route.  Online schedules pages here

Customers with affected bookings will have their bookings moved to the next available sailing. Our team is working hard to process these schedule changes and is contacting customers chronologically as quickly as we are able. Customers with affected bookings who would like to change or rebook should contact our Customer Service Centre for assistance by calling us at 1-888-223-3779 ext. 0.

We apologize for any inconvenience these service revisions may cause you and appreciate your ongoing patience.

Our goal is to inform our customers as early as possible of any changes to our scheduled sailings. We recommend that for the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, our customers also follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

Ferry schedules changes extended until end of March

February 23 2022

Due to the expected crewing challenges in the months ahead, and in an effort to provide reliable ferry service, the service adjustments implemented on January 28, 2022, have been extended until March 31, 2022, on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay, Horseshoe Bay – Langdale and Earls Cove – Saltery Bay routes.  These schedule changes are reflected on our online schedules pages here.

Sailing schedules have been adjusted as follows (changes are noted in red):

Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay January 28 - March 31

Depart Departure Bay

Depart Horseshoe Bay

6:15 am

6:15 am

8:25 am

8:25 am

10:40 am

10:40 am

1:00 pm

1:00 pm

3:20 pm

3:45 pm

5:55 pm

5:40 pm

10:10 pm

8:05 pm

 Horseshoe Bay – Langdale January 28 - March 31

Depart Langdale

Depart Horseshoe Bay

6:20 am

7:30 am

8:40 am

9:45 am

10:50 am

11:55 am

1:05 pm

2:10 pm

3:15 pm

4:20 pm

5:25 pm

6:35 pm*

7:40 pm

8:45 pm

9:50 pm

10:55 pm

 

Customers with affected bookings on sailings between Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay will have their bookings moved to the next available sailing. Customers with affected bookings on sailings between Horseshoe Bay – Langdale will have their bookings moved to the new departure time. Our team is working hard to process these schedule changes and is contacting customers chronologically as quickly as we are able. Customers with affected bookings who would like to change or rebook should contact our Customer Service Centre for assistance by calling us at 1-888-223-3779 ext. 0.

Our goal is to inform our customers as early as possible of any changes to our scheduled sailings. We recommend that for the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, our customers also follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

Two-ship trial coming for Gabriola ferry route

The Quinsam

220121 – BC Ferries will conduct trials of two-ship service between Nanaimo Harbour and Descanso Bay (Gabriola Island) January 25-27. The Quinsam and the Island Aurora will run the trials with plans to make two ferry service a permanent fixture in the spring. 

Dock fitting will take place January 24 with trial service starting January 25. The trial period will give crews the chance to monitor travel and loading times and validate the schedule for two-ship service.   

During the trial, there is no change to scheduled sailing times although customers will have additional sailing opportunities throughout the day as the Island Aurora will be running opposite the Quinsam. There may be a reduction in the number of pay parking spaces at Nanaimo Harbour to accommodate the additional crew.

BC Ferries understands the importance of providing reliable ferry service, especially for ferry dependent communities and customers who use the ferry system to get to work, school, medical appointments, or to visit family and friends.

For the most up-to-date sailing information, visit BC Ferries’ website or follow @BCFerries on Twitter. To view the status of all routes at a glance, visit https://www.bcferries.com/routes-at-glance.

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

B.C. Ferries schedule Monday to Friday, Jan. 28 to Feb. 28

Island Gwawis to serve Gabriola Island this year

BC Ferries revealed the name of its sixth Island Class ferry today at a naming ceremony at Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime. Island Gwawis is the last in this series of Island Class vessels to enter the fleet and will allow for the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route to be serviced by two Island Class vessels.

Gwawis means "raven of the sea" and was selected with input and support from the 'Na̲mg̲is First Nation. It celebrates the cultural connection between the original mariners of the coastal waters and the communities the vessel will soon serve. Today's ceremony began with remarks from BC Ferries, Damen Shipyards and the Province of British Columbia, followed by the unveiling of the ship’s name and the christening of the hull.

"This ship is as much about the relationships we are building as the service it provides," said Mark Collins, President & CEO of BC Ferries. "Together we have delivered six innovative hybrid-electric ferries under the challenges of a global pandemic. Island Gwawis will help move us towards being one of the most sustainable companies in the world while connecting communities along the way.

Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers and crew. They are battery equipped ships designed for future full electric operation. The ships are fitted with hybrid technology that bridges the gap until shore charging infrastructure and funding becomes available in B.C. From the exterior details to the engines, the design of the new vessels reduces underwater radiated noise, lowers emissions and improves customer service.

BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming Island Gwawis into service later this year.

Staffing shortage cancels ferry sailings

Please be advised that the Queen of Coquitlam has cancelled the following sailings for January 11 due to a staffing issue.

Cancelled:
6:15 am departing Horseshoe Bay
8:25 am departing Departure Bay
10:40 am departing Horseshoe Bay
1:00 pm departing Departure Bay
3:45 pm departing Horseshoe Bay
5:55 pm departing Departure Bay

For customers with reservations on the affected sailings, every effort will be made to accommodate them on the next available scheduled sailing. If we are not able to do so, reservations will be refunded.

We apologize for any inconvenience these cancellations may cause you. Your safety is important to us, and we require a specific number of crew members on board the vessel to ensure the safety of our passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency and to comply with Transport Canada regulations. 

Our goal is to inform our customers as early as possible of any changes to our scheduled sailings. We recommend that for the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, our customers also follow @BC Ferries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.
 

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

Potential service interruptions due to crew shortages

Like many other transportation providers, BC Ferries is anticipating that a combination of issues may result in unplanned service disruptions on all routes, and particularly on inter-island routes, over the coming months.

There is no single factor driving service interruptions. It is a combination including the Omicron variant’s potential to impact employee wellness, regular cold and flu season, severe winter storms, vaccination policies that have reduced crew availability and the global shortage of professional mariners making it difficult to hire replacement staff.

Crewing is a complex, logistical task that considers the individual’s qualifications and the number of skilled mariners required for the various roles onboard each vessel, as well as where they live and work. Regulations require these positions to be filled with the appropriate crew, or the vessel cannot sail. Even a small number of crew that are unavailable to sail can have a significant impact on service if replacements are challenging to find.

To mitigate this risk, BC Ferries relies on staffing pools with crew held in reserve, crosstraining employees so they can be redeployed from one location to another as required, and overtime pay for employees who cover gaps. In the event these mitigations are not successful, the company modifies service.

BC Ferries’ goal is to avoid service disruptions wherever it can; to communicate service disruptions as soon as they become known; and to look for ways to minimize the impact these disruptions have on customers through the use of water taxis or other contracted marine service providers, where these services exist and are available.

BC Ferries understands the importance of providing reliable ferry service, especially for ferry dependent communities and customers who use the ferry system to get to work, school, medical appointments, or to visit family and friends. BC Ferries will do its utmost to avoid and minimize disruption to service, even when faced with a combination of factors. While a route may operate on a modified schedule, no route is expected to be suspended completely.

BC Ferries thanks its customers for continuing to support the ferry system under these more trying times. The company acknowledges and thanks its employees for their willingness to work extra hours and move between positions to ensure the least number of sailings possible are affected.

For the most up-to-date sailing information, visit BC Ferries’ website or follow @BCFerries on Twitter. To view the status of all routes at a glance, visit https://www.bcferries.com/routes-at-glance.

Queen of Alberni in refit until Jan. 17

Queen of New Westminster

The Queen of Alberni is in refit until Jan. 17.  The Queen of New Westminster is the replacement vessel. Commercial operators, note the Queen of New Westminster has a height clearance of 13’8” and width of 12’ as compared to the 14’6” height clearance and width of 14’6" on the Queen of Alberni.

For more information or traffic updates, please follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our website at bcferries.com, or call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).

Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal parkade remains closed

Please be advised that parkade at Horseshoe Bay terminal will not be accessible until further notice due to safety concerns. On January 2, a minor rock slide spilled into the parkade at Horseshoe Bay. One vehicle in the parkade sustained damage. Fortunately there were no injuries. Safety is our highest priority and the parkade has been closed until further notice. 

A rock scaling contractor is on site to install temporary bracing and shoring in the parkade for the damaged portions of the parking garage and then begin scaling the rock face in the vicinity of the parkade.

Geotechnical engineers are surveying other portions of the rock face at Horseshoe Bay to check for potential issues.

Rock scaling is scheduled over the next week, weather dependent.

The terminal remains open, and customer parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to the ticketing and administration building. Customers with vehicles in the parkade are required to check in with the on-site BC Ferries representative to access their vehicle. Access to vehicles in the parkade will be limited Monday-Friday, between 8:00 am - 4:00 pm due to the rock scaling and repair work. It is advisable that customers pick up their vehicles after 4:00 pm on the weekend. 

Customers and neighbours can expect added noise associated with the rock removal and repairs. Noise will be limited to daylight hours.

We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience experienced as a result of the parkade closure and subsequent repairs. Further updates will be provided when available.

To check parking availability at Horseshoe Bay, please visit our Current Conditions webpage.

For the most up to date information about our sailings and service please follow us on Twitter @BCFerries.

Horseshoe Bay terminal parkade damaged in rock slide

220103 - The parkade at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal has been damaged by a rock slide leaving the parkade closed until further notice. At least two columns in the parkade were knocked over. There was minor damage to one vehicle. The shutdown will affect walk-ons heading to Nanaimo from the Lower Mainland. MORE