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BC Ferries cutting Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, other routes because of COVID-19

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Apr 3, 2020 at 9:08 pm PDT

FILE - BC Ferries is adjusting service levels across multiple routes for the next 60 days. (Courtesy Transportation Safety Board) (Source: facebook.com/BC-Ferries)

Changes also coming to the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands and Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands routes

The suspension of routes starts Saturday and is for health and safety reasons

Many workers will be temporarily laid off, but how many is not yet known

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — BC Ferries is cutting the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo and other routes for 60 days due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We are suspending all service on the routes between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo and Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay,” says BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins.

Changes are also coming to the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands and Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands routes.

“We are reducing sailings on our routes between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen to Duke Point to four round trips per day,” Collins added.

He also says daily cargo-only shipments will guarantee essential supplies will be transported to Vancouver Island.

Many jobs will be temporarily cut because of an 80 per cent drop in traffic, Collins says, but he’s not releasing any layoff numbers yet.

The route changes start Saturday and are meant to protect the health and safety of communities and ferry workers, as well as better match service to current demand, says a release from BC Ferries.

Service level adjustments:

  • regular sailings on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen-Duke Point routes are reduced to four round-trips a day from the present eight on both;
  • four additional cargo-only round-trips will be provided on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route, to ensure essential goods are transported to and from Vancouver Island;
  • service on the Langdale-Horseshoe Bay route is reduced to six round trips a day from the present eight;
  • all service on the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo route is suspended;
  • all service on the Mill Bay-Brentwood Bay route is suspended;
  • for northern and mid-coast communities, service will continue to operate at the current off-peak (winter) service levels;
  • the summer direct service from Bella Coola to Port Hardy will not be introduced at this time.

Remaining routes and schedules are unchanged for now.

The Coastal Ferry Services contract with the provincial government has been amended to permit the service reductions, says BC Ferries.