BC Ferries Names New Gulf Islands Ferries

BC Ferries held the official naming ceremony today for the second and third Salish- Class vessels at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland. The Salish Eagle and Salish Raven were christened according to maritime tradition with the customary breaking of a champagne bottle on each hull. The vessel sponsor for the Salish Eagle is Michelle Letourneau, currently a Master on the routes serving the Southern Gulf Islands. The sponsor for the Salish Raven is Jodi Gaudet, Chief Engineer on the MV Quinsam, which operates on the Nanaimo – Gabriola Island route. Both women have worked diligently over the past 20 years to advance their careers in the marine industry, and are thrilled at being selected as sponsors of these newest BC Ferries vessels. “This ceremony marks a major milestone in the construction of our three new Salish- Class vessels as they each take another step closer to entering our fleet,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “These vessels, named …
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BC Ferries Expands Foot Passenger Reservations for Salt Spring

BC Ferries is expanding a pilot project that allows foot passenger reservations for customers travelling from Tsawwassen to any island serviced on the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route to now include reservation opportunities for travel from Salt Spring, Galiano, Saturna, Pender or Mayne Islands to Tsawwassen. For travel between April 11 and September 5, walk-on passengers will now be able to guarantee boarding on a sailing in either direction of travel on this route. Details of this reservations offering include: • Reservations offered in both directions of travel, space is limited • Full fare must be paid in advance by phoning BC Ferries Customer Call Centre • There is no fee for reservations; no fee for changes • Fares are non-refundable, but are transferable to another sailing • Reservations can be made up to two hours prior to desired sailing • Customers must check-in a minimum of 30 minutes prior to scheduled sailing time “Customers who have used these re…
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BC Ferries Announces Names for New Ferries

Following a contest in which BC Ferries received more than 7,100 entries, a panel of judges has selected Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven as the names for its new intermediate class ferries currently under construction. Salish Orca will enter service on the Comox – Powell River route late next year. Salish Eagle and Salish Raven will begin operations in the Southern Gulf Islands in 2017. A panel of 12 judges comprised of representatives from local media, Ferry Advisory Committee members and BC Ferries’ employees selected the three names after reviewing the entries submitted during the Name a Ferry contest that ran from May 19 through June 9, 2015. The names Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven were chosen to honour the Coast Salish people and the Salish Sea where these vessels will operate. To celebrate Salish culture, BC Ferries is working with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council to select Coast Salish artisans to design artwork for the exterior and interior…
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BC Ferries Adds Two Extra Sailings for Garlic Festival

BC Ferries has added two late night sailings for the weekend of Saturday, August 8 and Sunday, August 9 providing extra service to ensure smooth sailing for attendees of the inaugural Salt Spring Garlic and Music Festival. The extra sailings will depart from Fulford Harbour at 9:40pm each night on route to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. “BC Ferries is pleased to add these extra sailings as our way to help support this community event,” said Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries’ Executive Director of Public Affairs. “These extra sailings will allow festival goers from Victoria to stay a little longer and enjoy the entertainment on Salt Spring Island.” Festival founder Neale Smith says the announcement is a welcomed one, “We’re thrilled with the decision of BC Ferries to provide the later sailings. This positive response to our festival allows folks an opportunity to enjoy an incredible weekend of entertainment, food, workshops and events and not worry about missing the ferry home.”…
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Video: BC Ferries Leaving Cars Behind

Did you try traveling to Vancouver Island today from Salt Spring’s Vesuvius terminal to Crofton? Did you get on the ferry? Like many others, I didn’t. Why? The ferry left 1/3 empty. Yes, you read that right. The ferry was 1/3 empty and I and 20+ other cars didn’t make it on, more than once. BC Ferries, why are boats leaving the terminal today 1/3 empty with many, many cars left behind on multiple runs? Speaking with one of the ship’s mates he said it was because the terminal had no attendants to manage vehicle types while trying to load the smaller, temporary vessel being used during the refit of the regular ferry that runs this route. Fine, no problem, we get it. Boats need to be refit, smaller boats often take their place. He also said the crew was new at working together and were learning how to load balance this refit boat. Yes, you read that correctly. He said there was an inexperienced crew on a smaller refit boat running 1/3 empty leaving islanders behind. What…
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BC Ferries Seeks Input on Sailing Schedules

‘Customer Needs Assessment’ survey now open - BC Ferries is launching a survey today to better understand the service needs of Southern Gulf Islands customers. This survey is the first step in a nine-month process offering customers an opportunity to provide input on improving sailing schedules for the following routes:   Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands (Salt Spring, Pender, Mayne, Galiano, Saturna) Swartz Bay – Southern Gulf Islands (Pender, Mayne, Galiano, Saturna) Southern Gulf Islands – Inter-Islands (Salt Spring, Pender, Mayne, Galiano, Saturna) As BC Ferries will be introducing two new Intermediate Class Ferries into service in this region in 2017, the opportunity exists to improve service and better align customer needs with sailing schedules, as well as balance seasonal service, capacity and demand with operating efficiencies. “The more information BC Ferries can gather on the travelling needs of our customers, the better informed we will be in devel…
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March Traffic on BC Ferries Up 5% Over Last Year

Year over year comparison shows vehicle and passenger traffic increases. Traffic is up on BC Ferries over the same period last year, with March showing increases of over 5 per cent for vehicles and nearly 4 per cent for passengers. In March 2015, BC Ferries welcomed an additional 51,937 passengers and 29,861 vehicles compared to March 2014. February was even better with increases of over 10 per cent for passengers and nearly 11 per cent for vehicles. “These numbers are very positive and we are optimistic we’ll have an outstanding summer for traffic on BC Ferries this year,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President & CEO. “Indications are that lower gas prices and a weaker Canadian dollar will combine to increase traffic this summer. We are also optimistic for the future with annual preliminary price caps set at or below inflation at 1.9 per cent from 2016 to 2020.” Tourism is rebounding from the economic downturn and it is expected to be a busy tourist season in B.C. Tra…
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BC Ferries Signs 10-Year Natural Gas Contract for New Long Harbour Ferry

BC Ferries is pleased to announce it has just awarded a long-term contract to FortisBC to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel the three new intermediate class vessels that are currently under construction. The first ship is scheduled to enter service in late 2016, the second vessel by early 2017 and the third ship by mid-2017. By the time all three ships are in service, FortisBC will be supplying BC Ferries with 300,000 gigajoules of LNG per year. “We are pleased to collaborate with FortisBC, a safety leader in gas supply, for our new LNG vessels,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering. “The use of LNG has both financial and environmental benefits and this contract will ensure we have a long-term, secure supply to power the new intermediate class vessels.” “BC Ferries has taken the lead as one of the first passenger ferry services in the country to use LNG,” said Doug Stout, FortisBC Vice-President of Market Development and External Relatio…
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Construction Begins on New Intermediate Class Ferries

BC Ferries announced that the first steel cut for the first of three new intermediate class ferries (ICF) took place at the Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. shipyard in Gdansk, Poland last week. The event marks the construction start of the next new vessel in BC Ferries’ fleet and was recognized at a small ceremony with representatives in attendance from BC Ferries and Remontowa. Following an extensive competitive bid process, BC Ferries awarded the $165 million contract in July of 2014 to Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. to build three new vessels. These new vessels will be the first in BC Ferries’ fleet to operate as dual-fuel, capable of using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or diesel fuel for propulsion and power generation. The first ICF is scheduled to arrive in August 2016. “Today is an exciting day for BC Ferries as we officially commence the physical construction of the first ICF, which will replace the 50-year old Queen of Burnaby on the Comox – Powell River route,” said Mark…
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BC Ferries Cancelling Some Wednesday Long Harbour Sailings

VICTORIA – BC Ferries reminds customers of the Tsawwassen- Southern Gulf Islands route that service will be removed for nine Wednesdays from January 7, 2015 to March 4, 2015. During those Wednesdays, customers may access the Southern Gulf Islands using the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route and then transferring to a Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands sailing. Working with members of the Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island Ferry Advisory Committees (FACs), BC Ferries was able find a scheduling solution that would meet the net cost savings targets established by the Province as part of their service level adjustment process that occurred in early 2014. Looking to minimize the impact of schedule changes for their communities, the idea to remove service for nine Wednesdays on the Tsawwassen- Southern Gulf Islands, rather than Friday to Sunday service throughout the Fall/Winter/Spring period, was initiated by these FACs. “Finding a way to avoid changes to vital, weekend saili…
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Video: Dance of the Sugarplum BC Ferries

Primary students at Salt Spring Island's Phoenix Elementary perform their very own, must see version of 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' called 'Dance of the Sugarplum BC Ferries'. This very unique to Salt Spring Island performance is an interpretation of the pas de deux from Act 2 of the 1892 ballet The Nutcracker with music written by Tchaikovsky. This is a classic made on Salt Spring artistic performance re-imagined through our island ferry service, BC Ferries. Thank to you all the staff, students and parents of Phoenix Elementary and especially to the elementary class ferries, orca, station attendant, fuel supplier and of course the traveling public on BC Ferries.
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BC Ferries Awards Contract for New Long Harbour Ferry

VICTORIA – Following the completion of an extensive competitive bidding process, BC Ferries has awarded Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. of Gdansk, Poland contracts totaling $165 million to build three new intermediate class vessels. The contracts have been approved by BC Ferries’ Board of Directors, as well as a total project budget of $252 million that includes financing and project management costs that would have been incurred regardless of where the vessels were built. The budget also includes $51 million for Canadian taxes and federal import duties. The total project budget is within the capital envelope set by the BC Ferries Commissioner. “These are design-build, fixed-price contracts that provide BC Ferries with substantial guarantees related to delivery dates, performance criteria, cost certainty and quality construction,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering. Other highlights of the contracts include: • Remontowa assumes all design, constru…
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Take Action: BC Ferries Protest

Your actions can have impact and you are needed to help send a message to BC Ferries that things can and should be done differently for providing vital ferry transportation service to and from our island. On Tuesday, March 11th, a large contingent of Salt Springers are traveling to Victoria to make their voice heard regarding the impact of ferry cuts and fare increases. All of our elected representatives will be there including our MLA Gary Holman, CRD Director Wayne McIntyre and our trustees Peter Grove and George Grams. Buses have been organized from Swartz Bay to Parliament Square at the cost of only $10 return. Tickets are available at the Salt Spring Bookstore. You will need to be on the 9.50 AM ferry out of Fulford to catch the bus which leaves from Swartz Bay at 10.30am and returns in time for the 3pm ferry back to the island. All information about the protest and protest organizing can be found on the Salt Spring Island Ferry Action Alliance and protest organizing…
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BC Ferries' Public Survey - Sailing Schedule Refinement Options

After conducting engagement sessions in the communities that would be affected by proposed sailing reductions across the coastal ferry service network, the provincial government has recently confirmed a plan to reduce sailings across a number of routes serviced by BC Ferries. BC Ferries will now implement these service adjustments to ensure new route schedules are in effect by April 28, 2014. BC Ferries is seeking public opinion regarding schedule options for all of the affected routes. Anyone interested in recommending a preference for one of the schedule options available for each route they utilize may do so through an online survey that will be made available from February 12 - 21, 2014. To review the proposed changes and to participate in the survey, please visit bcferries.com
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BC Ferries to Implement New Fuel Surcharge

The fuel surcharge will be 3.5 per cent on average

BC FERRIES  New release states - Due to current world fuel market conditions that influence the prices that BC Ferries must pay its diesel fuel suppliers, the company is advising customers that a fuel surcharge will be implemented on the majority of its routes on January 17. The fuel surcharge will be 3.5 per cent on average on all of its routes with the exception of the Port Hardy – Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert – Haida Gwaii routes. There will not be a fuel surcharge added to these routes at this time. BC Ferries is currently paying approximately $0.14 per litre higher than the Commissioner approved fuel price included in its fares (set price). In determining price caps (maximum average fares) for the current four year performance term, the Commissioner established a regulatory set price for fuel for the current year of $0.952 per litre. In November 2013, monthly fuel prices reac…
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BC Ferries Cuts Service Levels on Salt Spring

VICTORIA - The government of B.C. is charting a new course for our coastal ferries' future. The guiding principles behind all future decisions to affect the coastal ferry service will be based on an affordable, efficient and sustainable system which protects basic service to coastal communities for future generations. Routes affected: Vesuvius Harbour - Crofton Annual utilization rate: 35.5 per cent Annual contracted round trips: 5,046 Annual round trip reductions: 605 (12 per cent) Estimated net savings to 2016: $210,000 Tsawwassen - Southern Gulf Islands Annual utilization rate: 42.2 per cent Annual contracted round trips: 830 Annual round trip reductions: schedule change only; no round trip reductions Estimated net savings to 2016: $180,000 These guiding principles are a framework for BC Ferries and the BC Ferry Commissioner as they consider and implement changes to increase operational efficiencies and develop and implement long-term capital plans. Th…
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BC Ferries Raises Rates

VICTORIA – BC Ferries is advising customers of increases in passenger and vehicle fares, reservations made less than seven days in advance, and Assured Loading Tickets (ALTs) on April 1, 2013. In accordance with the BC Ferries Commissioner’s Order 12-02 issued on October 1, 2012, prices for vehicle and passenger fares will rise by 4.1 per cent on average on all routes across the fleet on April 1, 2013. The fee for reservations made less than seven days in advance will increase from $17.50 to $18.50. Reservations made a week or more in advance will remain the same at $15.00. The reservation fees apply on the three major routes between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route, and the Comox - Powell River route. The last increase in reservations made less than seven days in advance was in 2005. The $15.00 fee for reservations made more than seven days in advance has not changed since the reservation product was introduced on the three m…
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BC Ferries: Government Releases Coastal Ferries Report

VICTORIA - The Coastal Ferries Consultation and Engagement summary report was released today, summarizing the input received during an eight-week public consultation process conducted in fall 2012. The consultation and engagement provided information to British Columbians on the challenges facing the coastal ferry system. The process sought public input on the principles to guide service adjustment decisions and strategies to further the Province's long-term vision for the ferry system. Over the eight weeks, senior ministry staff hosted 40 public consultation meetings in 30 communities, along with one webinar. More than 2,000 people attended the public meetings and almost 2,000 feedback forms and written submissions were received. The strong public response clearly reflects how much people value the coastal ferry service. Given the volume and detail of comments received during the consultation, government will take the time necessary to thoroughly review the feedback a…
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BC Ferries Raising Fees

BC Ferries announced today that it is reminding customers of increases in passenger and vehicle fares effective April 1, 2012. Prices will rise by 4.15 per cent on average on all routes across the fleet. This increase was approved last spring in Bill 14, an amendment to the Coastal Ferry Act. Subsequent price caps will be determined following the Province’s response to the BC Ferry Commissioner’s report. Fare increases are required due to the rising cost of operating and capital expenditures coupled with lower than anticipated traffic levels.

See chart of fares below:
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4-Way Stop at Central

Our friends at MainRoads have informed us that they will be installing a 4-way stop at the Central intersection (Vesuvius Bay Rd/Upper Ganges Rd/North End Rd/Lower Ganges Rd) today. As a reminder, the rules of the road are whomever arrives at the intersection first, has the right of way. If you arrive at the same time as another driver, the rule is yield to the right. Please use caution & drive slowly in this area.
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Video: Emergency Air Ambulance Transfer

We're fortunate to live in a community that has an outstanding local hospital, but when one of us is hurt and we need specialized medical attention, and we need it fast, this is how it happens. We captured some footage today of the BC Air Ambulance and our own local paramedics, led by James Cowan, getting a patient transferred to Vancouver via helicopter. https://youtu.be/uyzuXxsSrYQ This isn't the only helicopter that frequents the skies around Salt Spring. Here's a flash back to some footage of local resident Don Arney flying us back and forth to Vancouver in his own privately owned whirly bird. https://youtu.be/AkxBfELOS1w
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