Frustrated passengers are venting their anger at delays and what is being described as traffic chaos outside Lower Mainland ferry terminals.
Sailing waits are no surprise on busy long weekend travel days, but motorists have described unusual traffic jams on the roads leading up to the ticketing booths.
B.C. Ferries says sailings on the Salish Raven and Salish Orca were delayed due to “traffic congestion on the causeway leading to the terminal,” which resulted in delays loading the vessels.
Traveller Paul Woodhouse described a traffic lineup that extended beyond the causeway to the Tsawassen terminal, with little traffic-control staff and some who did not know what they were supposed to be telling drivers
“There was no direction,” he said.
Woodhouse said when his vehicle finally began to approach the ticket gates, several opened suddenly with no staff telling motorists where to go.
WATCH: B.C. ferry passengers frustrated after chaos at Tsawwassen terminal
“Cars are crisscrossing everywhere because they don’t know where to go, they’re going into lanes, out of lanes, trying to get across lanes. They have no idea what lane they are supposed to be in. There was no reservation lane or anything that indicated a reservation lane,” he said.
“We then got to the booth. Literally, the poor employee, 17 years, she has never seen such a crazy place, she is literally in tears telling us please, it’s not her fault.”
As of 11:30 a.m., B.C. Ferries said there was a three-sailing wait on key routes such at Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay and Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay, despite the addition of 89 extra sailings on the major southern routes.
“This is typically one of our most popular weekends for travel,” said B.C. Ferries spokesperson Astrid Braunschmidt.
Braunschmidt said staff and RCMP were also in place to assist with the traffic outside the terminals.
“We do have flaggers and traffic controllers on scene and we also have RCMP on scene that are helping us guide traffic especially on the causeway towards Tsawwassen,” she said.
“We understand that there are some people who have missed reservations because of the traffic leading to the terminals … and we’re working to accommodate those travellers on the next available sailing.”
Outside the terminal, frustration among drivers was palpable.
“I’ve been travelling this way for 40 years and I’ve never, ever seen this happen,” one passenger, who said they were worried they’d miss their reservation because of a confused lineup, told Global News.
“It’s absolutely insanity. I don’t know how a multimillion-dollar corporation can run like this because a regular one would be bankrupt by now.”
Others described waiting more than 45 minutes to reach the gates and a lack of co-ordination among B.C. Ferries traffic controllers.
“They put us in the far lane, we were polite and stayed in that lane all the way up here. And then she told us we were cutting in when we got here,” another driver told Global News. “It’s not very well organized.”
Passengers also took to social media to vent their frustrations, some describing frantic drivers doing whatever they could to get ahead in the line.
“People are driving on the shoulder to beat the queue,” wrote Darren Moore.
“@bcferries your Tsawwassen terminal traffic management is subpar today. I get there is volume, but all personnel have been useless and we’ve been sitting in a mess since well before the causeway,” tweeted Jen Aldcroft.