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BC Ferries tickets 'hot commodities' being swapped, sold on Sunshine Coast

Last Updated Jul 17, 2020 at 10:52 pm PDT

BC Ferries hasn't been able to add extra sailings this summer due to COVID-19. (Courtesy Twitter.BC Ferries)

People on the Sunshine Coast are selling, swapping, and giving away ferry reservations

Summer service is usually stepped up but extra sailings have not been added due to the pandemic, causing long delays

SUNSHINE COAST (NEWS 1130) — Confronted with the possibility of hours-long waits for ferries on summer weekends, people on the Sunshine Coast are getting creative.

Duane Burnett runs a Facebook group for residents, and says reservations have become “hot commodities.”

“It’s like they have become like a black market item, almost like you would expect from scalpers at a concert or a big event. People are selling, and trading, and giving away reservations,” he says.

“I’ve never seen this before with ferry tickets.”

But the way tickets are being exchanged is unlike the secondary market for concert tickets in one key way.

“The most outrageous transaction is that people on the coast are giving away their reservations for free to help people who are desperate to get across. That speaks volumes about our community,” Burnett says.

"Our focus over the last few months has been to protect the core of the ferry system & continue to provide safe,…

Posted by Sunshine Coast BC Canada on Friday, July 17, 2020

Summer service is usually stepped up, but extra sailings have not been added due to the pandemic.

Burnett says locals have been experiencing frustrating waits amid reduced service.

“Many of them have booked multiple reservations over the summer expecting the pandemic backlog to happen, but then they can’t use them or somebody needs to get some place really fast and they can’t get on because it’s a six to eight hour wait.”

Residents get priority for boarding, but Burnett says there’s no requirement to prove that you live in a coastal community.

“Anyone can drive up to the terminal and say ‘I live on the Sunshine Coast.’ They don’t check for ID,” he says.

Burnett also says this system doesn’t work for people who are travelling to care for family or for work, and he’d like to see those travelers prioritized over people seeking a getaway.