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Editorial: Cancelled ferry crossings cause frustration

Many travellers heading to the lower Sunshine Coast or Lower Mainland over the long weekend, or trying to find their way home, were out of luck
Malaspina Sky arriving at Saltery Bay Terminal.

Another long weekend, and another example of frustration for ferry travellers.

This time, many people heading to the lower Sunshine Coast or Lower Mainland from September 2 to 4, or trying to find their way home, were out of luck. While other BC Ferries’ routes managed to survive the Labour Day long weekend without hiccups, cancelled sailings between Saltery Bay and Earls Cove reached double digits.

One round trip failed to run on September 2, followed by three on September 3 and then two morning sailings on September 4.

BC Ferries shared the reason for the cancellations, which is not normally the case. Typically, the only indication is that a sufficient number of crew members were not available.

A car accident resulted in one crew member being unable to attend work, according to BC Ferries. The company was unable to find a replacement.

The well-being of the crew member involved in the accident is more important than travel plans of an individual or family, but the result is another example of the fragility of BC Ferries’ staffing situation; the fate of hundreds of people waiting at terminals can come down to one unfortunate mishap.

Where do we rank when it comes to importance?

Our local ferry advisory committee chair says regarding crewing, “it begs the question of whether BC Ferries is sending our crews to other routes because they are more important.” That is a question waiting to be answered.

The needs of the many are being dictated by the few in charge of BC Ferries, some of whom will be at meetings at Town Centre Hotel in Powell River on September 21 (ferry advisory committee meeting, 3 to 5:30 pm; community drop in meeting, 6:30 to 8:30 pm ). A spike in attendance/feedback is needed.

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