WATCH: BC Ferries is bracing for one of its busiest weekends in what has already been a record-setting year for traffic volume. More sailings have been added to accommodate the long weekend passenger demand. Whether you have a reservation or not, the ferry corporation says to get there early, which includes anyone who plans to walk on. Andy Neal has more.
It was the calm before the travelling storm at Swartz Bay Thursday with no lineups or waits.
But it’ll be a much different scene soon as travellers head to their Thanksgiving destinations.
“So heading out of Tsawwassen as well as Horseshoe Bay Thursday night, Friday night as well as Saturday morning,” Deb Marshall of BC Ferries said.
“We do expect Vancouver Island terminals to be very busy on the holiday Monday, particularly in the afternoon.”
Ninety sailings have been added to the weekend schedule and reservations for peak sailing times are sold out.
BC Ferries will get passengers out as early as 6 a.m. starting Friday, and also midnight sailings on Friday and Monday nights along the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route.
“We wanted to make those sailings available to customers to book reservations, so they can plan in advance,” Marshall said.
“We’ve also discounted those sailings. So it will provide customers with a bit of an incentive to travel at the off-peak periods.”
Victoria won’t be busy just because of family time, with many en route for the 38th annual Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon.
“We’re anticipating close to 9,000 participants and that is in the combination of the marathon, half marathon, 8K and the Thrifty Food’s Kid’s Run,” Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon General Manager Cathy Noel said.
Of those entered, Noel says 60 per cent are coming from off the Island.
“We’re communicating with our participants all the time and saying book your reservation, come ahead, don’t wait until the last minute,” Noel said.
If you think walking on is no problem, think again.
It is rare, but BC Ferries expects to hit maximum foot passenger numbers during peak hours.
“On the holiday Monday out of the Departure Bay terminal, as well out of Swartz Bay in the afternoon,” Marshall said.
“So if you are travelling as a foot passenger, you need to get there at the peak times a lot earlier than you normally do.”
Marshall encourages any ferry travellers to check current conditions at terminals on the BC Ferries website.