Members of our local Southern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee (SSCFAC) receive many comments about the cut-off process at B.C. Ferries terminals and on-time performance.
The cut-off time at Langdale is five minutes for vehicles and walk-on passengers, and the cut-off time at Horseshoe Bay is 10 minutes.
If the ferry is late arriving at Langdale, the cut-off time will be adjusted by terminal staff to five minutes before the expected new sailing time.
Additional time is required at Horseshoe Bay because the terminal is much larger and travel times from the vehicle toll booths and the foot passenger walking distance to the ferry are substantially longer. The terminal operations are also more complex because the terminal services three separate routes (Langdale, Nanaimo and Bowen Island).
The 10-minute cut-off process is controlled by terminal tower operators. The personnel in the vehicle and walk-on ticketing booths cannot override the system after cut-off has been initiated by the tower.
When the ferry has arrived late at Horseshoe Bay, the tower will delay cut-off until the first vehicle or foot passenger boards the vessel. This approximates a 10-minute cut-off and provides a consistent procedure. Ticket agents and tower operators also continuously monitor any line-ups in front of the booths and will continue to sell tickets until all customers in queue at the time of cut-off are processed (assuming the ferry is not full). Employees also monitor for buses arriving close to sales cut-off and have procedures for West Vancouver Transit to contact the tower if a blue bus is running late. The tower will try to accommodate all the bus passengers if it will not delay the sailing.
Barry Cavens, chair, SSCFAC