Results of Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island Engagement Program released by BC Ferries

By BCShippingNews
August 13 2017
Results of Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island Engagement Program released by BC Ferries
More than 4,000 people took part in the program...

BC Ferries released the results of its recent public engagement program on schedule changes for the Metro Vancouver – Sunshine Coast (Horseshoe Bay – Langdale) and Metro Vancouver – Bowen Island (Horseshoe Bay – Snug Cove) routes. The broad engagement effort reached more than 4,000 people in just over six weeks.

Highlights from the feedback the communities provided include:

  • Reliable sailing times and considerations such as adequate capacity and connectivity with transit should be viewed as equally important when evaluating schedule and other changes
  • Morning and afternoon commute times are the least flexible to change, but some flexibility exists for schedule modifications, particularly in the mid-day and later in the evenings

The top two considerations for Sunshine Coast communities are:

  • Maintaining commute times, particularly the 6:20 a.m. and ideally 5:30 p.m. sailings, if possible
  • Increasing the capacity and frequency of service to the Sunshine Coast

The top two considerations for Bowen Island are:

  • Maintaining school and work commute times, especially the 7:30 a.m., the 3:30 p.m. and ideally 5:30 p.m. sailings, if possible
  • Adding a later last sailing out of Horseshoe Bay and additional weekend sailings

“We heard from a lot of different sectors from the communities and are pleased with the high level of engagement we received,” says Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We know these routes are challenged by sailing delays and we want to make changes to ensure our customers can rely on the schedules as published. We are pleased to review the report and incorporate public feedback where it is operationally possible.”

BC Ferries engaged with the community to plan for schedule changes for the Horseshoe Bay –Langdale and Horseshoe Bay – Bowen Island routes because current schedules on these routes are not achievable, and customers often experience delays. BC Ferries’ goal in making schedule changes is to improve the on-time performance and reduce delays for customers travelling on these routes. “Schedule changes require careful consideration,” says Collins. “It’s a very fine balance. We move up to 39 sailings daily in and out of Horseshoe Bay terminal using only three berths. There are trade-offs that we have to make to adjust the schedules, and we wanted the communities’ input in deciding which trade-offs we should make.”

BC Ferries is also looking at long-term plans for terminal improvements, vessel replacements, and information technology upgrades that will help improve service to the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island. However, these improvements are still a few years away. In the meantime, BC Ferries recently announced a trial of an extra commuter round-trip sailing on the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route from Monday to Friday, September 5 to October 6. This sailing will depart Horseshoe Bay at 5:50 p.m. and depart Langdale at 7 p.m. The company also announced additional weekday sailings on this route for the remainder of August to address higher levels of traffic and improve the customer experience. For full schedule details visit bcferries.com.

BC Ferries is now reviewing the feedback it received from the public and creating a schedule that balances public input with operational constraints to improve the on-time performance for Langdale and Bowen Island routes. Early this fall, the company will present the new schedules and report back to the communities on other key considerations raised.

Please visit bcferries.com/about/ontime-sc/to view the report.