Traffic drops below 80% across the BC Ferries system

Derek Kilbourn

Wednesday, April 15 2020

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health officer, and Adrian Dix, BC Minister of Health, said while they had heard concerns through the Easter Long Weekend about heavy traffic on ferries, the numbers showed a significant decrease in how many people were on the ferries compared to a normal year.

Dr. Henry said there has been a more than 80% decline on all routes, and that, “there are reasons people may need to travel.

“Essential travel needs to happen in our province. Goods and the people who deliver services do need to get places. People live and work in  more than one location - that might mean they have to be on the road.

“I thank you all who do what you can to limit your travel and everyone’s efforts to stay home and stay safe.”

BC Ferries stats for the Quinsam on Gabriola’s route showed that on the Friday of the Easter Weekend, there was no sailing with more than 30 vehicles (Quinsam can carry 70), or 55 passengers (Quinsam can carry 400), meaning there was never more than 35% passenger capacity used. 

Similar numbers were seen through the rest of the weekend. Dix said, “I know there’s been discussion and frustration in communities by people who may appear to be travelling unnecessarily - and in some cases that may be the case.”

He said to put it in comparison, for the Easter Weekend of 2019, the three major routes carried 173,284 passengers. This year, remembering the Departure Bay route is not running, there were 14,633 passengers.

For the collective minor routes (excluding the Southern Gulf Island route), in 2019 there were 42,904 passsengers carried over the Easter Weekend. In 2020, there were 8,908.