With the introduction of a new Salish-Class vessel and its increased capacity to the Southern Gulf Islands in 2022, BC Ferries is reaching out to island communities to identify ways to enhance ferry service in advance of the new ship's arrival.
Engagement will take place in two phases. In Phase One, now underway, BC Ferries will work with the community to develop a list of criteria to evaluate schedule options later in the process. In Phase Two, the company will present schedule options to the community and use the criteria to evaluate them. Community feedback will help create an improved schedule for the Southern Gulf Islands. Ferry Advisory Committees for the Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island will be heavily involved in the engagement process throughout, helping to review community feedback, and refine and finalize schedule options.
“The Southern Gulf Islands are growing and changing, and working towards pandemic recovery,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We want to better understand how things are changing for island communities and support their growth and recovery.”
BC Ferries’ goal is to provide better service to each Island. “The Southern Gulf Islands routes are complex and interconnected, and changes to one schedule can mean a change to all schedules,” adds Collins. “Customers rely on the ferry for a variety of travel needs, and these needs fluctuate and change by season. It’s important we carefully consider all needs for all islands and all seasons when looking to enhance schedules.”
The first phase of engagement will take place virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel and gatherings. BC Ferries is reaching out to communities via Ferry Advisory Committees, at terminals and on vessels, and online.
BC Ferries last engaged with Southern Gulf Island communities about schedules in 2015. Feedback collected during the 2015 engagement efforts on Southern Gulf Island schedules will continue to inform the enhancements and improvements BC Ferries is exploring for 2022.
For more information or to join the conversation, visit bcferriesprojects.ca/sgi