Swartz Bay. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Swartz Bay. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Vancouver Island ferry travel lower on Easter long weekend than during the first weekend in April

BC Ferries spokesperson says Island routes saw a 14% reduction in passengers, compared to April 3-5

According to BC Ferries executive director of public affairs Deb Marshall, ferry traffic during the Easter long weekend (April 10-13) was down 14 per cent from the first weekend in April, 2020.

The B.C. and Alberta governments issued a joint statement prior to the long weekend, urging people to stay home, due to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public outcry ensued, as pictures of full ferry decks were posted on various media platforms, and people expressed disappointment at a perceived disregard to the plea.

An online petition was even created, requesting ferry access be limited to essential services/supplies and Island residents.

RELATED: Petition asking to restrict travel to Vancouver Island garners thousands of signatures

Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a statement Monday, April 13, declaring ferry traffic had diminished by 92 per cent over the Easter weekend of 2019.

RELATED: Vancouver Island ferry traffic down 92% compared to Easter 2019

The relevance of those numbers came into question, due to vast difference in the numbers of available sailings in 2019 compared to 2020.

As of Saturday, April 4, all service on the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay (Nanaimo-Vancouver) route has been ceased, and regular sailings on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point (Nanaimo) and Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay (Victoria) routes have been cut by 50 per cent.

Furthermore, the remaining active sailings have had their capacity reduced by 50 per cent, in accordance with the temporary Transport Canada regulations.

“The new temporary Transport Canada regulations say we can carry 50 per cent of the normal maximum passenger license limits,” explained Marshall in an email sent out April 11. “We are following in accordance with these new regulations. For example, a Spirit Class vessel is usually licensed to carry 2,100 passengers and crew, so now the maximum would be 1,050 passengers and crew.”

Black Press reached out to Marshall for travel figures comparing the Easter long weekend to the weekend prior – the first weekend of the new sailing schedule.

“On a system level, passenger traffic was 14 per cent lower this weekend (April 9-12), than the previous weekend (April 3-5) and vehicle traffic was 18 per cent lower,” she said, in an email response.

According to Dix, 14,633 passengers used the Island ferry routes over the course of the 2020 Easter long weekend.

Based on Marshall’s statement, approximately 17,000 ferry passengers used the Island routes the April 3-5 weekend.

Marshall added she does not believe comparing the Easter weekend to the previous weekend is a fair comparison.

“This is not an apple to apples comparison, due to [the] way traffic materialized over Easter (vs a typical weekend) and also significantly higher latent demand over Easter weekend, when compared to its surround weekends.

“This is why we believe Easter to Easter is a better comparison, for measuring customers’ response to health guidelines.”



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCFerries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man sustained burns to his body near this spot around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 13 in Courtenay. The fire was left of the pathway. The Station youth housing facility and city public works yard are to the right of the trail. Photo by Terry Farrell
Emergency personnel respond to man on fire in wooded area of Courtenay

A man was badly burned in the early morning hours Tuesday in… Continue reading

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: Thieves steal truck from Black Creek car lot by towing it away

Have you seen a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 in your neighbourhood in… Continue reading

Teresa Hedley and a copy of her book, “What’s Not Allowed? A Family Journey with Autism.” Photo supplied
Comox Library recognizes Autism Awareness Month with presentation by local author

April is World Autism Awareness Month, an annual opportunity to increase understanding… Continue reading

Comox council will further look at a troublesome traffic area in the Point Holmes area of the town. Photo submitted
Comox council to look at speed calming measures at Point Holmes

“…We are waiting for a problem to happen if we don’t act.”

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
19 Wing Comox crew involved in three-tonne cocaine seizure worth more than $293 million

12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron involved in Op Caribbe

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Comox Lake is the drinking water source for the CVRD. Photo supplied
Comox Valley Water Treatment Project nears completion

The Comox Valley Water Treatment Project is more than 85 per cent… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

Comox council approved a change in fees for using the Comox Municipal Marina, extending the collection of fees from March 1 to Oct. 31 each year. Black Press file photo
Fee changes, increased costs coming to Comox Municipal Marina

The town will be extending the collection of fees from March 1 to Oct. 31

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Most Read