WATCH: Ferry traffic is expected to be busy all weekend. And preparation is everything when travelling. Mary Griffin reports.
Mid-day Friday, there was a lineup into the BC Ferries terminal building at Swartz Bay. The Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest of the year. Many waiting at the Swartz Bay terminal for the 2 p.m. sailing were taking the wait in stride.
University students are part of the long weekend rush home, according to B.C. Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall.
“This traditionally is our busiest weekend of the year for foot traffic passengers. So, we do expect to see some foot passenger overloads on our major routes,” Marshall said.
Many savvy travellers made reservations days ago. But what many in line may not know is the further ahead you reserve, the more you’ll save. It’s $10 for a reservation made seven or more days in advance, $17 for less than seven days, and whopping $21 for same travel.
Adding to the pressure is the absence of the Spirit of British Columbia. One of the two biggest ships in the fleet, it’s en route to Poland for a mid-life refit, Marshall said.
“The Coastal Celebration is sailing in place of the Spirit of British Columbia. Basically, over the course of the day it would amount to one sailing,” Marshall said. “So, we have added extra sailings to make up for that.”
Despite the traffic, some prefer to chance it after all.
BC Ferries expects to reach capacity with foot passengers on Monday afternoon as everyone heads back to the island. That may result in cut-offs for passengers walking on to the ferry from the mainland. A midnight sailing is available Friday night and Monday night.
That’s in addition to a 6 a.m. Monday morning sailing, all on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay run.