B.C. Ferries passengers flocked to Vancouver Island this Thanksgiving as the traditionally busy weekend saw a seven per cent bump in traffic numbers compared to last year.
Preliminary numbers from B.C. Ferries show about 78,400 passengers travelled to terminals in Nanaimos Departure Bay and Sidneys Swartz Bay on two of eight vessels sailing from Thursday to Saturday.
Those figures show a spike of about 5,500 people that travelled on similar boats during those same days in 2011.
Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year for the financially strapped Crown corporation that is experiencing overall record-low ridership, but the weekend numbers show a noticeable jump, said Darin Guenette, public affairs manager for B.C. Ferries.
Why are more people travelling? Well, its too early to tell.
The numbers reflect passenger levels for just two of the four vessels travelling on each of those routes, but it gives a snapshot of the type of traffic seen this weekend, according to B.C. Ferries.
Two Spirit vessels operating between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen carried 47,000 passengers from Thursday to Saturday, up from the 44,000 passengers that travelled those same days in 2011.
Between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay, the Queen of Oak Bay and the Queen of Cowichan carried about 31,400 on those same days this year, compared to 28,900 last year.
Full parking lots at all four of those terminals, as well as the lot at Duke Point terminal, illustrate the type of traffic this year.
Parking lots filling up is not odd for this time of year, Guenette said. It does tells us though that there are a lot of foot passengers this weekend.
Guenette said it would be a bit of a guess to attribute the full parking lots to the escalating fare costs.
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