Changes could be coming to the BC Ferries’ Southern Gulf Islands schedule in the next few years with the introduction of a new Salish-Class vessel.
BC Ferries is expecting the new ship to be deployed by 2022 and has indicated this will increase service capacity to the Southern Gulf Islands.
In anticipation of the vessel’s arrival, BC Ferries says it is exploring possible schedule changes in an effort to enhance ferry service on the various Southern Gulf Islands routes.
“The Southern Gulf Islands are growing and changing, and working towards pandemic recovery,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We want to better understand how things are changing for island communities and support their growth and recovery.”
The company says it hopes to generate possible schedule options and present them to various communities before making any final decisions.
BC Ferries outlines it will consider community feedback, evaluate the possible options and develop an improved schedule to service the area.
The process will heavily involve Ferry Advisory Committees in the engagement process with communities as it explores possible schedule revisions, according to BC Ferries.
The ferry company says one of its goals is to provide better service to each island in the region.
“The Southern Gulf Islands routes are complex and interconnected, and changes to one schedule can mean a change to all schedules,” added Collins. “Customers rely on the ferry for a variety of travel needs, and these needs fluctuate and change by season. It’s important we carefully consider all needs for all islands and all seasons when looking to enhance schedules.”
BC Ferries plans to engage with customers about scheduling possibilities at terminals, on vessels and online.
The last time the company engaged with Southern Gulf Island communities about schedules was in 2015 and BC Ferries suggests that data collected at that time will guide the schedule enhancements it is exploring for 2022.
More information about the process can be found on BC Ferries’ website.