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BC Ferries urges reservations for walk-ons ahead of B.C. Day long weekend

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Booking a reservation for your vehicle has become a virtual necessity for passengers on BC Ferries, and now the company is urging foot passengers to book ahead as well.

Ahead of the B.C. Day long weekend, the ferry service is warning travellers of expected “peak foot passenger” periods on Aug. 1 and Aug. 5, in part as a result of large group reservations.

The busiest overall travel days are expected to be Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings, followed by Monday and Tuesday morning.


Click to play video: 'B.C. Ferries Board of Directors Chair Joy MacPhail speaks out about problems'


B.C. Ferries Board of Directors Chair Joy MacPhail speaks out about problems


The company is advising of the potential for delays, and suggesting would-be foot passengers take steps to ensure they get on board.

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“Generally, if you are travelling as a walk-on passenger we would suggest you do show up about 45 minutes early, so that’s earlier than you would normally show up,” spokesperson Deborah Marshall said.

“It is rare that we do max out on our foot passengers, but it does happen from time to time. I believe we saw it on the July long weekend, so it is possible on the August long weekend.”

Foot passengers who want to lock in their sailing can also book one of 50 free reservation slots for walk-ons, she said.

In order to prevent terminal parking lots from filling up, she also urged people to take transit or be dropped off if possible.

The travel advisories come as the publicly-owned ferry company grapples with a challenging summer season, marred by delays and cancellations, largely due to the loss of the Coastal Celebration twice.

“BC Ferries is an extension of our highway system. Its not a nice to have, its a necessity for many folks,” BC United transportation critic Trevor Halford said.


Click to play video: 'Tips to score a BC Ferries reservation'


Tips to score a BC Ferries reservation


“They need to do a better job than they’re doing right now because right now BC Ferries is not dependable.”

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Foot passengers Global News spoke with in Victoria Monday expressed skepticism at the concept of booking a reservation to walk on.

“I live in Victoria and I’ve never had a problem taking the ferry over the weekends or just walking on. I feel like it would be a little excessive to book a walk-on ticket,” Gabrielle Jimenez said.

“I don’t know why they are doing it, probably for peace of mind, but for me I think there’s plenty of walk-on places there, so I am not concerned,” added Nicholas Trebesh.

An estimated 580,000 passengers and 210,000 vehicles are expected to make use of the ferry service between Aug. 3 and Aug. 8.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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