Ferry users are advised to double check schedules in light of cuts to return trips at Departure Bay and Duke Point.
Earlier in the year BC Ferries had announced reductions in major, underutilized sailings between the Island and mainland.
“This is part of a $30-million cost savings that was part of an agreement between the Province and BC Ferries,” the corporation’s spokesperson Darin Guenette said.
An amendment to the Coastal Ferries Services Contract calls for the two parties to find $30 million in savings in services and ferry operations. The first step identifies $4 million in savings on 98 return trips on three routes, mostly on the Duke Point-Tsawwassen run. As of Saturday, return trips at 5:15 a.m and 5:45 p.m. have been cancelled for 12 Saturdays.
“The historical traffic we receive on those sailings should be easily absorbed by the sailings that are next to them,” Guenette said.
As of Oct. 4, there are a further 18 round-trip cancellations on the 7 p.m. Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay route from Mondays to Thursdays.
“I expect a lot of people, even if they’re familiar with sailing, they generally would double check schedules,” Guenette said. “It is during low-utilized wintertime, so it doesn’t affect any of the popular (summer) sailings.”
The cuts are expected to save $4 million. The remaining $26 million can come from any of the major or minor routes.
For the time being, there are no minor route cancellations.
The Province had announced a fall consultation process with communities where officials will discuss service levels on minor routes. Community visits are expected to begin soon.