Non-essential travel is not recommended within regional health authorities currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and banned between health regions, but an essential link has been reestablished for commuters in the qathet region who require access to the Lower Sunshine Coast and Lower Mainland.
The recent announcement by BC Transit regarding service between Lund and Langdale ferry terminal is a step forward, even if the plan, which also includes private company Sunshine Coast Connector (SCC), is not perfect.
Riders travelling south will have to disembark the BC Transit bus at Saltery Bay Terminal and hop on an SCC bus at Earls Cove. The process will repeat itself at Langdale Terminal, with access to downtown Vancouver, YVR and other Lower Mainland locations available for passengers via transit at Horseshoe Bay Terminal. Those travelling north or returning home will face the same scenario.
Travellers may want to think about how much luggage they bring on their trip, as it will be lugged around on both ferries. As inconvenient as that is, this new option far exceeds what is available currently, which is nothing.
Anyone who is packing light will not be affected, but longer trips typically require bringing more attire, and perhaps gifts, depending on the type of visit. And shopping while away is probably not a good idea.
This is a start. Will it make everyone happy? No, but that is impossible anyway.
Connections are important and desirable for most people, whether they involve travelling or, even more so, touching base with friends and family. Coronavirus restrictions prevent most of that right now, but with vaccines being delivered into arms at a high rate and COVID case numbers dropping, perhaps that will change by the time the new bus service kicks into gear. We can only hope.
The new Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday service begins in late June. Prior to that, on May 28, Sunshine Coast Connector will resume a service between Powell River and Langdale on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays before paratransit buses in qathet Regional District take over the Lund to Saltery Bay portion of the route on June 28.
When/if restrictions are eased by BC health authorities, people who have the means will be driving their own vehicles in every direction in and out of town, or flying to their destinations. This latest news will allow those without those means, or who enjoy the scenery while being chauffeured en route to appointments, visits or gatherings, to travel when necessary, or even non-essentially (fingers crossed!).