Another failing grade for BC Ferries

Editorial

Ian Jacques / Editor
May 15, 2014 11:55 AM

The scenario of travelling on a Sunday between the Sunshine Coast and the mainland has just gotten longer and more frustrating for passengers.

The past two Sundays (May 4 and May 11) have seen long line-ups, sailing delays and growing frustration among travellers — many of whom have taken to social media to express their outrage.

In the ongoing discussions to try to save money on our route, it was decided that one round trip on Sunday and other sailings spread through the day would be cancelled. It was not the perfect solution, but one that was agreed upon. Well, we would say that the first two weeks with the modified Sunday schedule get nothing short of a failing grade.

There is a gap in sailings leaving Langdale between 8:50 and 11:30 a.m. This has resulted in huge line-ups at both the Langdale and Horseshoe Bay terminals.

In fact, on May 4, some spent over four hours in Horseshoe Bay due to the long line-ups and delays. Sailings ran behind schedule because of heavy traffic, and a mechanical or operational delay — as BC Ferries refers to it on their website — did nothing to alleviate the issues.

Then this past Sunday, May 11, the 4:30 p.m. sailing from Langdale had not left the dock yet and it was well past 5 p.m., and the 6:30 p.m. sailing — well, it was already 70 per cent full. And to top that off, ticket terminals in Horseshoe Bay were experiencing a problem with their Visa machines, so that meant if you did not have sufficient funds on your Experience Card or the right amount of cash, your Visa card was useless. And the solution? Staff were directing people to leave their vehicles, while still in the line-ups, go to a cash machine, and then come back to their vehicles. Yep, we’re certain that didn’t add to the delays!

A new schedule, the third such schedule change, is now in effect from May 15 to June 24, and it again leaves a huge gap in sailings on Sundays. Although there is an added morning sailing on May 17 and 19 due to the long weekend, we suspect it’s going to be another frustrating weekend of travel. And all of this is happening well before the crazy summer traffic volumes take place.

How will this effect tourism on the Coast? Negatively, we suspect. Who wants to come here when they will spend half their time at the ferry terminals?

The idea of cutting Sunday sailings is clearly not working and needs to be revisited — revisited soon, before the summer travel hits and the line-ups and delays further compromise the situation.


© Coast Reporter

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