(BC Ferries/Twitter)

BC Ferries has announced a gradual resumption of the Nanaimo (Departure Bay) to Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) route that had been temporarily suspended as a way to mitigate risks of COVID-19 transmission.

Starting June 3, there will be four daily trips on the Departure Bay — Horseshoe Bay route as follows:

  • From Horseshoe Bay: 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:50 p.m., 6:50 p.m.
  • From Departure Bay: 10:30 a.m., 12:50 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:50 p.m.

The ferry company says this move was announced to support the movement of goods and people to coastal communities.

“In order to support coastal B.C. and respond to the need of British Columbians, we are gradually and safely restoring our service,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO, in a statement on Monday.

“Demand has increased such that resuming service on the Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay route better serves the needs of customers.”

This service resumption brings back two other routes operating out of Horseshoe Bay: the Horseshoe Bay — Snug Cove and Horseshoe Bay — Langdale routes.

The company is working on plans to resume service across the fleet and is starting with this key Vancouver Island — mainland connection.

All vessels will continue accommodating passengers and vehicles at 50 per cent of their usual capacity in accordance with Transport Canada regulations to help support physical distancing on board.

BC Ferries recommends that passengers looking to travel on the newly reinstated route starting June 3 should book their trip in advance, arrive at the terminal at least an hour before sailing, and foot passengers also arrive well in advance.

Wherever possible, travellers should take alternate vessels like the Tsawwassen — Duke Point or Tsawwassen — Swartz Bay routes.

A number of BC Ferries staff are being brought back into employment to help restore the route.