B.C. ferry travellers wait for hours to board amid busy long weekend

“My husband and I woke up at 3:30 a.m., we didn’t make it.” People are waiting hours upon hours at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal to try and escape to Vancouver Island for the long weekend. Ashley Burr reports.


TSAWWASSEN (NEWS 1130) — A North Vancouver man is fuming, noting he was at the BC Ferries Horseshoe Bay terminal hours before his sailing Saturday morning. However, he was still stuck waiting, despite booking a reservation. He says something needs to change.

Jim Caruth thought he left his home with plenty of time, only to run into gridlock in West Vancouver.

“By the time we get [to the gate], our reservation will have expired. And we’re just we’re really unsure what we’ve done wrong and what we should have done to allow the system to work properly.”

Related Article: B.C. heatwave: Ferries customers reminded to take extra care while waiting at terminals

He says they have a vacation trip on the West Coast Trail — a trip that cost about $1,000 to put together — but it won’t be done if they miss their reservation.

“There’s not a lot of options for doing the West Coast Trail. You have to line up to try and get it, you’re lucky to get a spot. Will we ever be able to do it again, probably. But, we come back to this? What should we be doing as a public to allow the ferry system to work? Because this isn’t working.”

On its website, BC Ferries calls this the busiest weekend of the year to travel.

Many sailings between the mainland and the island are booked up all the way into the holiday Monday.

It got so busy Saturday morning, people waiting in the line-up at Horseshoe Bay without a reservation were turned away and told to come back later.

In Victoria people have been spilling out into the streets enjoying patios this long weekend.

Lisa Helps mayor of Victoria says she’s never seen the Island get so packed. But she still welcomes those visiting.

“I think there’s a real pent-up demand for real-life coming out of the pandemic. People probably are making decisions to stay more local. It’s still difficult to fly to places and the Island and Victoria — it’s a beautiful place to visit.”

“I ‘m not surprised that when people are able to travel again, that they’re making a choice to come here.”

Helps adds, they’ve been working really hard to create safe restarts.

Adding, they’ve been preparing to welcome visitors for quite some time but she urges people to follow provincial COVID orders and recommendations.

“Read the room as you’re walking into a space. If the staff are wearing masks, I’d encourage people to do that as well. And if they’re not, then don’t.”

Deborah Marshall with BC Ferries says it’s the busiest long weekend of the year.

“We do have some sailing waits for customers who don’t have reservations. So we would advise customers to travel off peak times, if you’re travelling without a reservation,” she says.

Marshall is also encouraging those without a reservation to either walk-on to sailings, or make sure you have a reservation.

“I would recommend that you check our current conditions on our website before you head out,” she says.

BC Ferries says there are going to be sailing waits for customers who don’t have reservations.

“It’s the busiest long weekend of the year,” Marshall says.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today