A BC Ferries vessel passes Bowen Island while travelling on Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

A BC Ferries vessel passes Bowen Island while travelling on Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

BC Ferries anticipating ‘pent-up demand’ following the lift of travel restrictions

The ferry service is planning to include more sailings later in the summer season.

With the end of recreational travel restrictions coming throughout the province on June 15, BC Ferries has begun preparing for a greater volume of travellers.

“We look forward to welcoming recreational travellers back on board, in accordance with the end of the province’s travel restrictions order, when the time comes,” said BC Ferries manager of corporate communications Astrid Chang.

The ferry company is preparing staff to meet the “pent-up travel demand within B.C.,” Chang said. They are also anticipating the addition of more sailings further into the summer season – details of which are yet to be announced.

BC Ferries introduced cheaper and more efficient fare options in March. The saver fares – ranging from $49 to 73.70 with free pre-booked reservations – continued following the implementation of inter-provincial travel restrictions in late April to encourage economic recovery after the ban is lifted.

“When the province lifts essential travel orders, these fare options will provide our customers more value, flexibility and certainty,” said BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins. “They will also help spread traffic across the day, reducing sailing waits at popular times.” Routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island make up about 60 per cent of daily traffic, said Collins.

During the first weekend of the province’s travel restriction order, BC Ferries reportedly turned away four to seven travellers on their six routes crossing regional zones. One passenger already on board the Spirit of Vancouver Island Ferry caused a commotion after being revealed to have flouted the travel order on April 3, resulting in the vessel’s return to Swartz Bay.

However, the majority of travel denials were “more a matter of a few people not being fully aware of the (travel restrictions),” said BC Ferries executive director Deborah Marshall. “There was no need to call the authorities.”

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