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95 extra B.C. Ferries sailings planned for May long weekend

B.C. Ferries is warning travellers that staffing shortages could lead to cancellations.
Among 95 extra sailings scheduled for the May long weekend, BC Ferries is adding 66 extra trips between Vancouver’s Tsawwassen terminal and the Swartz Bay terminal, including 6 a.m. sailings on Saturday, May 20 and Tuesday, May 23. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

B.C. Ferries is adding 95 sailings for the May long weekend to meet what is expected to be a surge in traffic, but it’s also warning travellers of possible cancellations.

Peak demand is expected between May 18 and 23, when the company expects to see about 430,000 passengers and 170,000 vehicles board the vessels.

There will be 66 extra sailings between Vancouver’s Tsawwassen terminal and Swartz Bay terminal, including 6 a.m. sailings on Saturday, May 20 and Tuesday, May 23.

B.C. Ferries is also scheduling 18 extra sailings between Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo’s Departure Bay, and 11 extra sailings between Horseshoe Bay and the Langdale terminal on the Sunshine Coast.

The company continues to face staffing challenges, which means there is a potential for cancellations, B.C. Ferries vice-president Dean Dobrinsky said in a statement

“I want to thank all our employees who are accepting overtime to help us deliver extra sailings to support customers through this busy weekend.”

B.C. Ferries said it has hired 125 licensed captains, engineers and chief officers this year to ensure Transport Canada safety requirements are met on all sailings and its priority is having an adequate relief pool to reduce cancellations due to crew shortages.

The most popular long weekend travel times on many routes are usually Thursday and Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, with the majority of traffic departing from Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals.

Historically, the holiday Monday is the busiest time for travellers returning from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Sailing waits are expected at peak times for customers travelling without a booking.

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