Mothers Against Drunk Driving raises concerns about B.C. Ferries selling wine, beer on board
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is concerned about a pilot project that B.C. Ferries is set to launch this summer to sell wine and beer at its buffets on board.
MADD B.C. regional manager Tracy Crawford says the organization is looking forward to seeing more details about the proposed pilot project.
“We definitely have concerns when people can consume alcohol then get in their vehicles and drive off the ferries,” Crawford told CKNW’s Simi Sara.
LISTEN: Mothers Against Drunk Driving criticizes B.C. Ferries pilot project to serve alcohol on board
“I don’t have all the details about any time of safety measures that B.C. Ferries is putting in place for this pilot project,” Crawford said.
A memo to B.C. Ferries staff was leaked on the news website The Orca on Wednesday detailing plans for the pilot project.
With a targeted start date of June 2019, select beers from B.C. breweries and VQA wine will be available for customers over the age of 19 on three different ferries sailing between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay.
The beverages will only be available at the Pacific Buffet on the Spirit of Vancouver Island, Spirit of British Columbia and Coastal Celebration.
B.C. Ferries plans on allowing customers up to two alcoholic beverages with the purchase of a meal. The pilot will include a responsible beverage service program for employees.
“The pilot approach enables the company to manage the risk of a new idea, gather feedback from employees and customers and identify deficiencies before rolling this out to other vessels,” the memo reads.
MADD says it’s good news that B.C. Ferries plans on having a confined location for alcohol use as well as a maximum drink limit. Crawford says she would like to know how the limit will be managed, what type of enforcement will be put in place and how both staff and passengers can identify over-consumption and stop people from getting in their cars.
WATCH: B.C. Ferries set to sell booze aboard sailings in June
“There are a lot of things that need to be put in place. There needs to be education for staff and passengers. If someone spots someone who has over-consumed, they should know who to contact to stop them from getting into a vehicle,” Crawford said.
B.C. Ferries says the pilot is an “initial small-scale implementation” that is intended to “prove the viability and scalability” of offering wine and beer to customers.
The internal memo says B.C. Ferries is moving to sell beer and wine because a majority of travellers said they would spend more time in the lounge or buffet if booze was available.
The northern ferry routes already have a selection of alcohol products.
The B.C. government is supportive of the idea and will be closely monitoring the pilot project.
“Obviously, people are wondering about this. As long as it is done responsibly with safety in mind and the people who are driving are responsible and safe,” Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said.
“We want to make sure that anybody who is having a glass of wine is safe getting behind the wheel of a car. This is something B.C. Ferries is very aware of.”
Alcohol will only be available on sailings after 11 a.m.
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