BC Ferries has announced yet another change to the Langdale schedule in response to growing demands for more sailings as the province moves into the next phase of the government’s restart plan.
“In response to the easing of travel restrictions and growth in ferry traffic, BC Ferries is adding even more service,” the company said in a service notice issued Sunday. “The Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route will return to eight round trips per day to match capacity with growing demand, improve on-time performance and enhance customers’ travel experience.”
BC Ferries president Mark Collins said ferry traffic is now about 30 per cent lower than this time last year after dropping at one point to 80 per cent less than normal.
The new schedule includes late-night sailings seven days a week, with the last trip from Langdale leaving at 10:30 p.m. and the last sailing from Horseshoe Bay at 11:30.
The first sailings of the day will continue to be a 6:20 a.m. departure from Langdale and a 7:30 a.m. departure from Horseshoe Bay.
And, although BC Ferries is allowing for a bigger gap between sailings, none of the waits between sailings on the new schedule is more than three hours.
The schedule does not, however, include the 5:30 p.m. sailing from Horseshoe Bay that is typically well used by commuters.
Deborah Marshall of BC Ferries told Coast Reporter that to keep the 5:30 sailing while adding round trips would require the resumption of the “L” sailing, where the ship on the Nanaimo run and the ferry serving Langdale cross over, and that’s not currently possible.
The new schedule, which will be in place from July 2 to Sept 7, was announced just a few days after Sechelt council drafted a letter to BC Ferries calling for the return of a full summer schedule, based on the service offered in 2019.
Last summer saw up to 12 daily round-trip sailings during the weekend on the Langdale route.
BC Ferries had already announced it would be making other changes to “safely adjust our operating tempo” and reduce the likelihood of delays by giving the Queen of Surrey priority for arrivals and departures at the Horseshoe Bay terminal and reopening the overhead foot passenger walkway to allow for faster turnarounds on the Horseshoe Bay side.
In its June 28 notice, Ferries also promised “additional service enhancements” would be announced this week.
“We thank our customers for their patience and understanding during these extraordinary times,” the company said. “By working together, we can safely increase the on-time performance of the Langdale service.”
The updated schedule has been posted at www.bcferries.com