BC Ferries to halt all sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo

60-day suspension of service between West Vancouver and Vancouver Island comes into effect April 4

BC Ferries announced Friday it is temporarily suspending all sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo for 60 days. file photo North Shore News

BC Ferries has announced it is suspending all sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo effective Saturday, in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The halting of all sailings between the West Vancouver ferry terminal and Vancouver Island is being put in place for 60 days.

According to the ferry service, the route is being halted because it carries much less commercial traffic than the other two routes connecting Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island. “Commercial traffic is the priority right now to move essential goods to Vancouver Island,” according to the ferry corporation.

The move will be re-evaluated “based on demand,” the corporation wrote in a press statement.

B.C. Ferries has also announced it is cutting sailings on many of its routes. Traffic on ferries is down 80 per cent across all routes, according to the ferry corporation.

Capacity on the ferries will be reduced by approximately half of what it was at this time last year.

Among the changes announced Friday, the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay route will run with just four departures from each terminal a day.

The Tsawwassen to Duke Point route will also operate with four departures open to the public from each terminal daily. That route will also operate with four cargo-only departures from each terminal Monday through Friday. Those sailings will be reserved for the movement of commercial goods and essential service workers only.

The Langdale ferry that runs from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal will continue to operate with six sailings from each terminal daily instead of the current seven. The last sailing of the day from each terminal will be cancelled.

The ferry schedule between Horseshoe Bay and Bowen Island is not being affected.

Elsewhere on the south coast, changes are expected soon on Gulf Islands routes.

The Coastal Ferry Services Contract with the province has been amended to permit these service reductions, according to the ferry corporation.

The cuts to service will result in temporary layoffs for hundreds of ferry workers, according to the corporation.

Customers with bookings on cancelled sailings will be automatically refunded.