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New regulations on board BC Ferries kick in

Last Updated Oct 11, 2017 at 7:49 pm PDT

(Source: Twitter @BCFerries)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s more about ‘awareness’ than enforcement as BC Ferries crews make sure travelers get out of cars parked on a lower deck.

Today marks the first day of changes which fall in line with Transport Canada rules involving closed spaces.

“In general, people are very understanding,” says Darin Guenette with the authority. “It’s really been a bit of an underwhelming issue customer service-wise. People have been great. By and large, it’s really an education and awareness and not a strong enforcement kind of day and we appreciate it.”

He adds it’s still okay to stay with your car if you’re parked on a upper deck.

“If people are unsure, they think they have a need to stay in their vehicles, we’d like to work with them to accommodate when they come up to the ticket booth. ‘Is there a way we can get you on the upper car deck?’ If it’s really, really busy and that doesn’t look possible, would they be willing to take the next sailing.”

Guenette explains regulation doesn’t apply to the upper deck because that’s not an enclosed space, says most customers seem to understand this is a safety issue.

Long weekends = long delays

Despite smooth transitions into some new regulations, BC Ferries says customers may expect more long line-ups when the next long weekend comes around.

Saying there’s not enough supply to meed demand, Guenette says efforts are being made to minimize delays. But he adds there’s only so much they can do to reduce long lines during peak times.

“It’s hard meeting peak demand when everyone wants to travel at the same time. You’ve already got the ships in service, but you can do things like price discounts during lower used times to pull some of that demand off the high peak time, as well.”

Numerous delays –including mechanical problems– over Thanksgiving frustrated travellers.

“Friday and Monday during the peak times, so noon ’til early afternoon, it was very, very busy out there. We had as many sailings and extra terminal staff as we could, but some people really saw some overloads and delays. We are trying to look to see what we can do in the future.”

When the Queen of Surrey –which heads to and from Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast– suffered a mechanical problem Tuesday night, many people had to wait for it replaced by another vessel.