BC Ferries’ lower vehicle deck ban takes effect today

BC Ferries' lower vehicle deck ban takes effect today

BC Ferries passengers will no longer be allowed to stay in vehicles parked on the lower deck.

BC Ferries passengers are no longer allowed to remain in their vehicles when they are parked on the lower deck.

The new policy, which took effect today, prohibits passengers from staying on any car deck that has closed doors at both ends, as well as limited openings along the sides. Customers who are on the upper vehicle deck, which is not fully enclosed, can remain in their vehicles during sailings. Access restrictions to closed vehicle decks will not apply when passengers are directed by an announcement to return to their vehicles before the ferry docks.

The rules are part of Transport Canada regulations that do not allow passengers from remaining in their vehicle on any closed deck on a vessel that is underway.

In August, the company said Transport Canada had recently reviewed risks such as fires on vehicle decks, which led to BC Ferries’ new policy. BC Ferries had been the only ferry operator in the country that allowed passengers to remain below decks in enclosed spaces. Transport Canada’s regulation has been around since 2007 and BC Ferries had been complying by doing continuous patrols on the car deck.

The company said customers who need in remain in their vehicles should arrive at the terminal early so staff can attempt to accommodate their request by parking them on an upper car deck.

“We recognize this regulation will be a change for some customers and our staff is ready to help wherever possible,” Capt. Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ vice president of fleet operations.

“Our employees will do their best to accommodate customers who need to remain in their vehicle for a variety of circumstances that may preclude them moving up to the passenger decks.”

The new policy applies to the lower vehicle decks on the following vessels:

• Spirit of British Columbia
• Spirit of Vancouver Island
• Coastal Renaissance
• Coastal Inspiration
• Coastal Celebration
• Queen of Alberni
• Queen of Coquitlam
• Queen of Cowichan
• Queen of New Westminster
• Queen of Oak Bay
• Queen of Surrey
• Salish Orca
• Salish Eagle
• Salish Raven
• Northern Expedition
• Northern Adventure
• Northern Sea Wolf

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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