Gabriolans asked to weigh in on restoring lost service on the Gabriola-Nanaimo ferry route

Steve Earle, Chair

Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee

Wednesday, March 20 2019

As directed by the Provincial Government, BC Ferries is restoring some of the service that was cut from minor routes in 2014. On the Gabriola-Nanaimo route that will include restoration of all of the mid-afternoon weekend sailings year-round. It will also include restoration of a single additional round-trip on weekdays, according to one of the following options:

Option 1: Restoration of the early morning sailing on weekdays, leaving Gabriola at 5:25 a.m. and Nanaimo at 5:55 a.m. (shown in red). That 5:25 a.m. departure should allow Gabriolans to make it to Departure Bay in time for the 6:15 a.m. sailing to Vancouver. With that option, most of the rest of the sailing times will be the same as what we have now.

Option 2: Restoration of the mid-evening sailings on weekdays. This involves some juggling of the schedule starting in the middle of the afternoon (although the 3:45, 5:00 and 6:10 p.m. sailings from Nanaimo would not change). It also means that the last sailing of the day on weekdays would be 11:30 p.m. from Nanaimo (compared with 11:00 p.m. now). The weekends would stay very close to what we have now.

The Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC) has created an online survey so that Gabriolans can let us know which of these options they prefer. We urge respondents to consider not just your personal preference, but also what you believe is in the best interests of the whole community. We’re hoping for a strong response to the survey and a clear preference for one of the two options. 

If the result is close to 50:50, then the FAC will have to consider all the information we have and make a decision that we feel is in the best interest of all Gabriolans. Whichever choice is made, it is expected that the changes will take effect on May 1. It’s important to remember that we are going to have two ferries operating on this route within about three years, and that the schedule will change again at that time.  

The survey is available at A link is posted on the FAC webpage ( and the FAC Facebook page. 

Printed copies of the survey are also available in the library.