BC Ferries is encouraging travellers to book in advance or face sailing waits on its busiest routes over the B.C. Day long weekend.
The company says it expects nearly 140,000 vehicles and more than 400,000 passengers over the long weekend, with the heaviest traffic expected Thursday, Friday, Sunday afternoon and Monday. Those without a reservation are encouraged to travel Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning, which are expected to see lighter traffic.
In anticipation of the rush, BC Ferries says it is operating at maximum capacity with more than 2,500 sailings Thursday through Monday.
There are still reservations available on BC Ferries’ busiest route, Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, and the company recommends you book early so you don’t have to experience sailing waits.
“Be prepared for sailing waits if you are travelling without a booking. The best option to avoid sailing waits is to travel during less busy times. These are typically mid-week days and early morning or late evening sailings,” BC Ferries said in a statement.
Drivers should also check current conditions, plan out parking options in advance as lots at major terminals fill up quickly on long weekends and those with advance bookings should arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes ahead of their scheduled departure.
The company is also warning travellers that abusive behaviour toward staff members will not be tolerated “as the company navigates one of the busiest long weekends of the year.”
It’s the first long weekend BC Ferries will be without its former CEO Mark Collins, who was fired Friday as the company tries to rebound from staffing shortages and service interruptions plaguing its routes.
The move was announced Friday by recently appointed BC Ferry Service Board chair Joy MacPhail.