The holidays are upon us and that means increased traffic congestion between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island this Christmas as travellers make plans to spend time with family and friends.
BC Ferries is adding more than 175 additional sailings between Metro Vancouver and the Island from Dec. 21-Jan. 2. Many of these extra sailings (130) will go between the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route, with another 46 additional sailings scheduled between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay.
They’ve also added eight more sailings to the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route on the Sunshine Coast.
“We’ve added these sailings to help travellers connect with family and friends over the holiday season, and ensure our commercial customers can travel as well,” said Janet Carson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience. “We lowered the cost of reservations earlier this year to $10 if booked seven days or more in advance and given the volume of traffic during the busy holiday season, we strongly recommend customers make a reservation to guarantee that they can travel at the time of their choice.”
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) December 11, 2017
Officials with BC Ferries anticipate Dec. 23 to be the busiest pre-Christmas travel day this season and Dec. 27 the busiest travel day post-Christmas. Early morning sailings have been scheduled in both directions between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay starting at 6 a.m. on Dec. 23, 26, 27 to get traffic moving earlier.
Starting Dec. 21, schedules on two of the three routes from Horseshoe Bay (connecting to Departure Bay and Bowen Island) will be expanded to allow more in-dock time during this busy period. BC Ferries says this is to provide more time to load vessels due to the anticipated increase in traffic congestion, and to help those vessels stay on schedule.
Travellers will also be able to take advantage of discounted sailings between Dec. 21-Jan. 3 on more than 260 select sailings on routes between Metro Vancouver and both Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. However, those planning to travel on these discounted sailings are advised to make reservations to ensure they get a spot.