BC Ferries is set to re-open Berth One at Langdale Terminal Friday, April 7 after the completion of upgrades to marine structures. Service on the Langdale – Horseshoe Bay route and the water taxi service to Gambier and Keats Islands will return to traditional service schedules on that day.
Since Jan. 19, BC Ferries has been operating two vessels on the Langdale – Horseshoe Bay route, loading vehicles on the main vehicle deck only. This temporary practice was necessary in order to provide the required capacity for Langdale customers, and involved approximately hourly sailings from each terminal during the dock construction period. With the re-opening of the double-deck berth, service will return to a single vessel using upper and lower vehicle decks, and performing sailings approximately every two hours from either terminal.
“BC Ferries received numerous comments from customers who appreciated the flexibility and convenience that the two-vessel operation provided, and we clearly understand the improvements to the customer experience. Unfortunately this type of service delivery is not sustainable in the near to medium term with our current ships,” said Corrine Storey, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Customer Services. “The cost of operating two vessels with main deck only loads basically doubled the fuel and labour costs of the regular service provided by the Queen of Surrey, and we know that fare affordability is a concern for our customers. However, this temporary service has been an excellent trial for potential future service options with two smaller vessels when the C-Class ships, including the Queen of Surrey, need to be replaced in the 2020s.”
In the meantime, the company will begin an engagement process with the public later this month to obtain feedback on how to make improvements to the schedules for the routes utilizing the Horseshoe Bay terminal to increase reliability and dependability. BC Ferries has made some operational changes over the past few years to help address this issue, however more needs to be done in order to meet customers’ expectations. Details about this engagement process will be announced in the near future.