BC Ferries adds second vessel to Nanaimo to Gabriola route

BC Ferries adds second vessel to Nanaimo to Gabriola route
Island Kwigwis is one of the vessels that will be servicing the Gabriola-Nanaimo Harbour route. (BC Ferries)

Two new ferries are coming to the Gabriola Island to Nanaimo Harbour route, one to replace an existing vessel, and the second for additional capacity.

One of the ferries will replace the MV Quinsam, which currently operates on the route.

Deborah Marshall, executive director of public affairs with BC Ferries says the two vessels are hybrid but have the capacity to be fully electric when the company has the infrastructure to support it.

“These vessels are able to go fully electric when we do have the shore-side infrastructure in place,” Marshall said. “But right now they are running in a hybrid mode.”

The new vessels will begin operating on Tuesday morning at 5:15 a.m.

One of the vessels will run for 18 hours a day, very similar to the current schedule for the route, then the second vessel will run 12 hour a day operating a peak time.

Marshall says the new schedules were developed in consultation with the community and the Gabriola Island Ferry Advisory Committee through public consultation in March and April 2021.

“We do know that the school run, for example, is very important, so we wanted to maintain that,” Marshall said. “We also wanted to make sure we had the frequency at the peak sailing times when customers are commuting back and forth to work and ensure that we’re covering our service throughout the day.”

While the new vessels have a smaller capacity, Marshall says overall the addition of the second ferry means more passengers will be able to be transported through the course of the day.

The MV Quinsam will then be moved to service the Crofton to Salt Spring Island route, on Wednesday.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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