Several coastal BC Ferries sailings will be restored starting the first day of April, the province announced Thursday.
The sailings will increase service to most of the routes that the previous government cut in 2014, bringing back roughly 2,700 round-trip sailings on 10 minor and northern routes.
“Adding these additional sailings will be a huge help to people living in coastal communities who rely on ferries for day-to-day travel,” Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said in a statement.
“Our government is committed to ensuring ferry service meets the needs of island families up and down the coast.”
The restorations were first announced in February, reversing cuts made by the Liberal government that then-transportation minister Todd Stone said were necessary to make the ferry service viable.
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Trevena said the BC Ferry Advisory Committee requested the restoration of some services cut in 2014, and that her ministry and BC Ferries have reached an agreement to return the services over the next year, with most starting on Monday.
Two of the routes — one servicing Port Hardy to Prince Rupert, and the other from Skidegate to Alliford Bay — will take longer to implement due to the need for additional crews.
BC Ferries has started the process of recruiting crew members and refitting ships, and will advise the committee on when that service will be increased on those routes.
In addition, the province announced ferry fares will remain frozen for the second year in a row, after reducing fares for smaller and northern routes in 2018 by 15 per cent.
The company is also exploring the possibility of extending its summer schedules into the fall.
The following routes will see increased starting April 1:
- Earls Cove – Saltery Bay
- Horseshoe Bay – Bowen Island
- Port Hardy – Mid-Coast – Prince Rupert
- Haida Gwaii – Prince Rupert
- Powell River – Texada Island
- Campbell River – Quadra Island
- Quadra Island – Cortes Island
- Crofton – Vesuvius (with further increases starting May 1)
- Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island (depending on community survey results)
—With files from the Canadian Press