B.C. Ferries is adding 150 extra sailings on three major routes over the busy holiday season.
The company said it expects more than 680,000 passengers and 270,000 vehicles to use the system from Dec. 22 to Jan. 2, and recommends advance bookings.
There will be 110 extra sailings between Vancouver’s Tsawwassen terminal and Victoria’s Swartz Bay, 35 extra sailings between Nanaimo’s Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver, and six additional sailings between Horseshoe Bay and the Langdale terminal on the Sunshine Coast.
B.C. Ferries is also adding a number of additional sailings between Tsawwassen and the Southern Gulf Islands.
Some of the routes will have reduced service on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day due to traditionally low demand.
The busiest day before Christmas Day is Dec. 23 for traffic moving from the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.
The most popular travel days after Christmas Day are Dec. 26 and 27, with traffic returning from the Departure Bay, Duke Point, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals.
B.C. Ferries is advising travellers to book in advance, and encouraging those with flexible travel plans to sail at off-peak times to avoid the rush.
Those with a reservation should plan to arrive at the terminal 45 minutes to an hour before scheduled departure, and walk-ons should arrive 45 minutes early.
B.C. Ferries also suggested travellers consider car pooling, ride-share options or public transit to get to the ferry terminal, as vehicle deck space and parking lots at terminals fill up quickly.