Ferry Facts April Update


(Originally published in the April 2016 MayneLiner)

Representatives of the Ferry Advisory Committees (FAC) from Mayne, Galiano, Pender, Saturna and Salt Spring Islands met with BC Ferry staff on March 8 to continue to review the most recent options to the proposed schedules. The Friday Route 9 schedules have been finalized although concerns were raised regarding potential overload situations on some weekends. Solutions include encouraging travellers to take earlier sailings and extending the shoulder season. Mayne Islanders will have Friday afternoon and evening options to and from Tsawwassen year round except for Off Peak departures from Mayne Island. The second noon ferry Monday to Friday from Mayne to Swartz Bay is back on the table. The Off Peak Sunday departure from Mayne Island to Tsawwassen will not allow for foot passengers on what is now the 4:20 departure. However, the late ferry is moved up from 8:05 pm to a 7:00 pm departure. As work progresses towards solving the 12 identified problems, it becomes obvious that some compromises are required and not everyone will get what they want for their Islands. We are scheduled to meet again on April 5th.

The data from the Mustel telephone survey was made available to the FAC representatives. The results were similar to the on line survey conducted in November and December, 2015 as mentioned in the March Ferry Facts. A total of 367 ferry customers were contacted, 29 of whom are from Mayne Island. Mayne Islanders were generally satisfied with all schedules, with satisfaction scores from 3.4 and higher out of 5. For Route 5, the highest satisfaction scores were for the mid-week service to Swartz Bay, with the lowest scores for the weekend service. For Route 9, the lowest satisfaction scores were for the Sunday service to and from Tsawwassen. As expected, the most common request was for more direct routes to destinations.

Discussions have taken place regarding improvements to the through-fare system in Swartz Bay. On an ongoing basis, the islands most affected by this system are Salt Spring and Saturna. In addition, anyone wishing to travel to and from the Southern Gulf Islands to Tsawwassen on a Wednesday from January 6 to March 2 would have been affected. The desire is to have some form of a guarantee for making a connection. The current system doesn't provide a means of identifying and establishing priority loading for through-fare customers.

There is nothing new to report on the mid-life upgrade to the Queen of Cumberland. April 17 remains the expected return to service date.

The local Ferry Committee advises B C Ferries on fares and schedules. Mayne Island representatives are: David Maude (davemaude@hotmail.com), Diana King (diana@dianaking.ca) and Mike Sywulych (250) 539 5274 (p.sywulych@shaw.ca). Ferry Facts is submitted by Mike Sywulych.

For further information please contact Mike Sywulych p.sywulych@shaw.ca.

posted April 2016

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