B.C. Ferries worker nearly hit at Sunshine Coast ferry terminal

VANCOUVER - A B.C. Ferries worker had a close shave Tuesday morning after he was nearly struck by an aggressive driver at a Sunshine Coast ferry terminal.

RCMP were called to the Langdale terminal just after 6 a.m. after a Ford Explorer driven by a man tried to get out of his line and nearly hit a ferry employee. The driver, who was in his 50s, was trying to make the 6:30 a.m. ferry, which was full.

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“We were in an overload situation. The customer was trying to get out of the line to board … and the employee motioned for the person to stop,” said B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall.

The driver ignored the worker and barrelled ahead, and came “awfully close,” requiring the employee to jump out of the way, said Marshall.

Sunshine Coast RCMP said it is investigating.

“At this point we have nothing to lead us to believe (the driver) was trying to intentionally hit the person,” said Const. Karen Whitby. “We are waiting to review the footage.”

The driver told police he was trying to leave the ferry terminal and got confused. He was issued a ticket for failing to obey the traffic controller.

Graeme Johnston, president of the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union, said even though RCMP does not have evidence of wrongdoing that warrants more than a ticket, the incident appears to fit a pattern of abusive behaviour the union is trying to highlight.

“In cases like this, it is really unfortunate that people act so aggressively with their motor vehicles,” he said.

The union ran a campaign this summer to raise awareness about worker abuse. More than 80 per cent of workers surveyed by the union reported having experienced abuse including threats, harassment or physical violence from ferry passengers.

Incidents involving passengers using their vehicles in an aggressive, threatening manner that appears directed at employees occur a few times a year, said Johnston — less than other types of worker abuse, but concerning because of the potential for significant physical injury.

B.C. Ferries has a zero-tolerance policy for such behaviour, said Marshall. The driver was banned from travel for at least one day, perhaps longer.

“Our employees deserve a safe and respectful workplace,” she said. “We don’t condone any abusive conduct towards our employees. That can, and does, lead to a denial of service.”

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