Ferry Facts December Update

The Southern Gulf Islands Ferry Advisory Committee had an informative and productive meeting with representatives from BC Ferries on November 15th.

A number of topics were discussed, including an update on the progress of the new vessels. The Salish Orca has left Poland and the sea trials have gone very well with speeds exceeding expectations. The journey will take 55 days and the Orca is expected to arrive by year end. An additional two months for training and inspections will be required before the Orca will replace the Queen of Burnaby on the Comox/Powell River route.

BC Ferries officials are optimistic that the Salish Eagle and the Salish Raven are on schedule and will meet the May 1st, 2017 date for replacing the Queen of Nanaimo. By the end of January, we will know if there will be any delay. If only one new ferry is available, the new schedule will go into effect May 1st as planned with the Queen of Nanaimo serving as the second ferry. If both new vessels are delayed, the Queen of Nanaimo will continue to provide service using the 2016 shoulder season schedule. The new ferries will be operating on LNG but will also have the ability to use diesel fuel if necessary. As with any new technology, there may be some glitches early on.

A reminder that the 50% fare reduction on all routes for selected sailings is in effect until December 18th. For details, go to bcferries.com, click on promotions and then click on the selected route.

The passenger reservation initiative has been very successful and will be continued. The FAC requested an increase in the number of passenger reservations allowed on route 9, and asked for improved communications regarding travel options and the ability to reserve on-line. A reminder that if you have a passenger reservation departing Tsawwassen, you must go through the ticketing agent and not use the machines.

The through fare option from Tsawwassen to the Gulf Islands has been very well received. BC Ferries has been asked to now consider implementing the same process for Islanders travelling to Tsawwassen via Swartz Bay.

BC Ferries has talked with the vendor regarding the ongoing problems with the coffee machine on the Mayne Queen, with no resolution. Due to physical obstacles, the existing machine cannot be removed and replaced until the ferry goes in for a refit in 2018. It was suggested that the vendor’s contact information be placed on the machine so customers can call directly.

Late Tuesday December 13th, the Queen of Cumberland will be taken out of service in order for one of the control systems to be replaced. The project is expected to take one day or less. The Bowen Queen will be the replacement vessel.

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 (mikesywulych@gmail.com). Ferry Facts is submitted by Mike Sywulych.

For further information please contact Mike Sywulych mikesywulych@gmail.com.

posted December 2016

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