Swartz Bay. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Vancouver Island ferry travel lower on Easter long weekend than during the first weekend in April

BC Ferries spokesperson says Island routes saw a 14% reduction in passengers, compared to April 3-5

According to BC Ferries executive director of public affairs Deb Marshall, ferry traffic during the Easter long weekend (April 10-13) was down 14 per cent from the first weekend in April, 2020.

The B.C. and Alberta governments issued a joint statement prior to the long weekend, urging people to stay home, due to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public outcry ensued, as pictures of full ferry decks were posted on various media platforms, and people expressed disappointment at a perceived disregard to the plea.

An online petition was even created, requesting ferry access be limited to essential services/supplies and Island residents.

RELATED: Petition asking to restrict travel to Vancouver Island garners thousands of signatures

Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a statement Monday, April 13, declaring ferry traffic had diminished by 92 per cent over the Easter weekend of 2019.

RELATED: Vancouver Island ferry traffic down 92% compared to Easter 2019

The relevance of those numbers came into question, due to vast difference in the numbers of available sailings in 2019 compared to 2020.

As of Saturday, April 4, all service on the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay (Nanaimo-Vancouver) route has been ceased, and regular sailings on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point (Nanaimo) and Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay (Victoria) routes have been cut by 50 per cent.

Furthermore, the remaining active sailings have had their capacity reduced by 50 per cent, in accordance with the temporary Transport Canada regulations.

“The new temporary Transport Canada regulations say we can carry 50 per cent of the normal maximum passenger license limits,” explained Marshall in an email sent out April 11. “We are following in accordance with these new regulations. For example, a Spirit Class vessel is usually licensed to carry 2,100 passengers and crew, so now the maximum would be 1,050 passengers and crew.”

Black Press reached out to Marshall for travel figures comparing the Easter long weekend to the weekend prior – the first weekend of the new sailing schedule.

“On a system level, passenger traffic was 14 per cent lower this weekend (April 9-12), than the previous weekend (April 3-5) and vehicle traffic was 18 per cent lower,” she said, in an email response.

According to Dix, 14,633 passengers used the Island ferry routes over the course of the 2020 Easter long weekend.

Based on Marshall’s statement, approximately 17,000 ferry passengers used the Island routes the April 3-5 weekend.

Marshall added she does not believe comparing the Easter weekend to the previous weekend is a fair comparison.

“This is not an apple to apples comparison, due to [the] way traffic materialized over Easter (vs a typical weekend) and also significantly higher latent demand over Easter weekend, when compared to its surround weekends.

“This is why we believe Easter to Easter is a better comparison, for measuring customers’ response to health guidelines.”



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCFerries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 2.5-magnitude earthquake occurred beneath San Juan Island, Wash. – 25 kilometres from Sidney – late on Oct. 30. (Screenshot via United States Geological Survey)
Minor Washington earthquake felt in Sidney, Victoria

U.S. seismologists report 2.5-magnitude quake late Friday

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak called changes to the More Justice, More Peace mural “offensive” in a statement Oct. 30. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria police chief calls new changes to downtown mural ‘offensive’

‘ACAB’ replaced with a note accusing the City, VicPD of silencing BIPOC

Paul Nestman’s Exemplary Service Award, which will be presented to him on Oct. 27 by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin during a virtual ceremony. (Provided by Tammy Robinson)
‘Trust your team’: Victoria man receives Exemplary Service Award from Coast Guard

Paul Nestman, along with 36 others, receive awards during virtual ceremony

The ‘fall back’ time change Nov.1 means earlier sunrises – and sunsets – for British Columbians. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Clocks ‘fall back’ for B.C. residents on Nov. 1

Daylight Saving Time ends, B.C. still working on permanent switch to ‘spring ahead’ time

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read