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B.C. to challenge rule against staying in vehicles on ferries: premier

Last Updated Sep 9, 2020 at 4:54 pm PDT

FILE - BC Ferries. (Courtesy Twitter/BC Ferries)

Premier John Horgan is disappointed that BC Ferries passengers will no longer be allowed to stay in vehicles

The ferry service says Transport Canada is rescinding the temporary flexibility it granted ferry operators

The new directive takes effect on Sept. 30

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Transport Canada’s reinstatement of rules against passengers staying in their vehicles on BC Ferries is an unwelcome intrusion by the federal government, according to B.C.’s premier.

“Yeah, we were disappointed with the announcements from Transport Canada,” John Horgan said Wednesday.

“I’ve raised this with the deputy prime minister as recently as a few hours ago. We believe that our marine highway is an integral part and essential service to a huge number of British Columbians. And we believe that we can safely transport people, provided that we have support and cooperation from Ottawa,” he added.

The restriction was lifted in March because of the pandemic, but starting Sept. 30, passengers will only be able to stay in their vehicles on the upper open-air deck.

“This is not something we sought. This is something that’s being imposed, returning to a previous situation that we also felt was a bit heavy-handed for the inland waters that our ferries travel in, the vast majority, that is,” Horgan said.

“So, we’re certainly going to continue to press the federal government. We have, I think, the directive takes effect Sept. 30. We’re in the throes of moving resources into public transit — whether it be BC Transit, TransLink and BC Ferries — so we can stabilize our public transportation systems. This is an unwelcome intrusion by the federal government at this time and we’re going to pursue it aggressively.”

RELATED: BC Ferries passengers will soon have to leave their vehicles on enclosed decks

Passengers will still be able to remain in their vehicles on the upper deck of larger vessels that have both an upper and lower — open and an enclosed — vehicle deck. Sixteen ships on routes between the mainland and Vancouver Island have upper, open vehicle decks.

Passengers are still required to have and wear a face covering or non-medical mask while onboard a ferry, except while they are in their vehicle or if they are eating or drinking.

People with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering and children under the age of two are exempt from the mask policy.