BC Ferries scraps ‘divisive’ pilot project for Sunshine Coast route

A B.C. Ferry is seen arriving at Horseshoe Bay near West Vancouver on March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

BC Ferries has cancelled a summer trial that would have significantly changed its Sunshine Coast route, following community outrage.

The ferry corporation said the Route 3 summer trial was meant to test “better connectivity” to the region.

Read more: BC Ferries to deny non-essential travel on multiple routes as part of COVID-19 restrictions

The plan would have seen the route’s reservation capacity increased to 95 per cent, and would have imposed a charge for one-way vehicle traffic departing the Langdale terminal.

BC Ferries said the plan was developed following consultation with residents last fall, who raised concerns about uncertain travel times, long waits and congested terminals — particularly in the peak season.

Click to play video: 'BC Ferries to help enforce COVID-19 travel restrictions'
BC Ferries to help enforce COVID-19 travel restrictions

“Unfortunately, the proposed Trial has become a divisive issue in the community, which certainly was not the intent,” BC Ferries president and CEO Mark Collins in a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: BC Ferries introduces two new fare options on major routes

“As a result, we will forego the Trial and operate the route in the usual manner this summer.”

The proposal was met with public outcry from Sunshine Coast residents, including a petition that attracted more than 8,500 signatures.

The petition said that many commuters who work in Vancouver can’t be sure when they leave work, making reservations impossible and that leaving just five per cent capacity for unscheduled travellers was unfair.

It also raised concerns the reservation and toll booth system would result in traffic backing up into nearby Gibsons.

Sponsored content