As per tradition, Thanksgiving long weekend is gearing up to be a busy one at BC Ferries, particularly with foot passengers as many university students return home for the first time this semester.
Between Thursday, October 6th, and Tuesday, October 11th, BC Ferries estimates that over 420,000 passengers and 160,000 vehicles will make a ferry trip.
To help alleviate the surge, BC Ferries is adding 85 additional extra sailings to service holiday weekend travellers. Foot passenger overloads may occur at peak times, such as noon to 7 p.m. on the holiday Monday at Departure Bay and Swartz Bay.
Of the additional sailings, 66 of those will be provided on the Victoria – Vancouver (Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay) route, which is the busiest route in the fleet, from Thursday, October 6th through Tuesday, October 11th.
The Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay route will have an extra 12 sailings, while the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale will offer seven more sailings.
Extra service is also being added for Gulf Island customers between Salt Spring, Pender, Galiano and Saturna islands on Monday, October 10th to deal with the anticipated heavy traffic.
“The Thanksgiving long weekend is typically the most popular weekend of the year for walk-on passengers,” said BC Ferries in a release.
“At peak times, some sailings may reach passenger capacity and some walk-on customers may experience a sailing wait.”
With that in mind, BC Ferries is suggesting walk-on passengers should reserve a spot for free on any of the three routes that connect Vancouver Island to Metro Vancouver, and along the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route.
The company ended the release reminding travellers that “abusive behaviour will not be tolerated and everyone is encouraged to be respectful, kind, calm, and safe.”