The Gulf Islands will see increased ferry service beginning on Thursday, July 16, and continuing until Monday, Sept. 7.
BC Ferries announced Friday that the Salish Raven will operate as a secondary ship connecting Tsawwassen and the islands on Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays.
“We desperately needed it,” said Salt Spring Ferry Advisory Committee chair Harold Swierenga, noting a number of overloads were occurring with only the Salish Orca serving the route.
For Salt Spring Island departures the change sees an additional non-stop 4:45 p.m. sailing from Long Harbour to Tsawwassen on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, and a 6:45 p.m. sailing on Sundays and holiday Mondays that stops at Pender.
For people travelling to Salt Spring from Tsawwassen, there are extra sailings at 2:30 p.m. and at 6:45 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, and at 4:50 p.m. on Sundays and holiday Mondays.
Full schedule details for all of the islands are available at bcferries.com/schedules.
“BC Ferries’ priority is the health and safety of our customers and employees, and the company will strictly adhere to provincial and federal guidelines during this gradual resumption of service,” BCF states in a press release. “The company is following the directives and guidance provided by the Province of B.C. and Transport Canada. We request customers remain in their vehicle for the entire sailing to ensure physical distancing is maintained, and possess and wear a face covering if physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
Earlier in the week BC Ferries announced that it was reopening more food services, the Lands End building at Swartz Bay and some gift shops on the major routes as of July 10.
“Customers can now enjoy packaged food items and limited hot food services on select routes between Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver, Southern Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast and North Coast,” explains a July 8 BC Ferries press release. “All hot food will be served in packaging for customers to take to their vehicles, outer deck or limited cafeteria seating.”
Customers travelling through the Swartz Bay terminal can purchase Bread Garden sandwiches, brewed coffee and tea, beverages, packaged pastries, cold cereal, yogurt and fruit cups.
Last month, BC Ferries resumed limited food services on the three major routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island, as well as Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. The Tsawwassen Quay Market at Tsawwassen terminal and Nanaimo Quay Market at Departure Bay terminal also reopened in June.