I think a lot of people are over reacting. To me this just sounds like they are trying to plan for the future, and looking at all the options. Its something smart organizations with a lot of capital and expenses involved in long term operations should do.
This is a long term plan, not something they would just implement instantly. The terminals are where they are because of tradition, not because of current good business logic. I mean, the Horseshoe Bay - Departure bay route only exists because Black Ball was chased out of Washington state and had to do something with the boats they had left.
Coupled with road upgrades (many of which are planned), routing most vehicle traffic through Tsawwassen might make a lot of business sense. It is worth examining, not just dismissing out of hand because it's a different idea that goes against 50+ years of tradition.
Think about it like this. Right now, in the low season, there are 4 ferries sailing between Vancouver and Nanaimo. 2 from Horseshoe Bay, 2 from Tsawwassen. If all those sailed from Horseshoe, that would be a sailing every hour, the same frequency as Victoria gets in the peak summer season
, right now, in the low season.
Originally Posted by cornholio
As someone who uses the ferry service often and sees the damage being done to the province as a result of the Liberal policies I have to say this is another reason why this province desperately needs to turn left and reverse many of these changes, this includes fully funding BC ferries as the important transportation infrastructure that it is.
The damage the liberals are causing is first of all difficult to calculate and the worst of it wont be felt until years later.
It is insane what they have already done to BC ferries, they basically have already dismantled half of this important infrastructure that took a countless decades to build up.
As someone else who uses BC Ferries very often, I would disagree.
Dismantled half the important infrastructure? What half? Since taking power the liberals have dramatically upgraded and expanded the size of the main terminals, upgraded almost every ferry, and bought properly built new ferries that have replaced the use of much smaller ferries on the major routes. There are more sailings and more capacity than there used to be.
Taking the ferry since the Liberals took power has been a dream compared to what it was like under the NDP.
It could be that as a (semi) private company it is run better, or just technology has marched forward. Under the NDP taking the ferry was a crap shoot. You would drive up to the ferry and have no idea if you were going to get on that ferry, or even if it was on time.
I waited several times in the parking lot for 3 or 4 hours without ferries showing up because of mechanical problems, that they refused to announce over the PA. And that was when there were no terminal facilities. So if you were hungry, you had to wait, because maybe right when you walked down the street to the nearest pub and made an order was when the ferry would suddenly show up.
Now that information is public. You can track the locations of ferries on your phone. They make public announcements when ferries are late, and even say why.
They also never told you if you were going to be on the next ferry or not. You would ask and they would give you the union backed blank stare and indifferent shrug. They knew how many tickets they sold, and that you had a sailing wait, but they intentionally kept you in the dark.
Now there are signs before you get to the terminals telling you exactly how busy the ferries are (and the information is online). And to my experience they are very accurate. They tell you at the gate when you buy a ticket what ferry you will be on. And in the last 10 years I've never been told I would be on a ferry and not make it, and out of all the times I was told I might have to wait, maybe 4 or 5 times I squeaked on as one of the last cars.
They only thing they are doing wrong is the pricing. The price right now is perfect... for the prime-time Friday and Sunday 5pm sailing. Sailings at the less busy hours should have reduced rates. They need variable pricing. There would be less crush at the busy sailings and the 9pm (and summer 10pm) sailings wouldn't be empty. It would spread load and demand and increase efficiency, as well as attract more riders who stay away for the high price.
Originally Posted by officedweller
Through the 1970s (and 80s?) - there were only 2 main routes to the island - Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay and Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay.
Originally Tsawwassen - Duke Point was exclusively for trucks - it used the Queen of Alberni with infrequent sailings. That ferry was subsequently double decked and became more of a general purpose route. Originally, it was to reduce congestion at the Horseshow Bay (and Departure Bay?) terminals - I can't recall, but Tsawwassen runs may have originally docked at Departure Bay.
Both Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay are convenient terminals - but both suffer from congestion and expansion problems because of their locations (i.e. why they are convenient).
The Horseshoe Bay terminal will not die, because it'll still be needed for the Bowen Island and Langdale runs. And parents at the local schools who complain about exhaust will be happy.
In the 80s or 90s (and as mentioned by Kisai) there was a plan floated to have one terminal on Gabriola and a terminal on Iona - making for a short ferry ride.
If the only route is a 2 hour Tsawwassen-Duke Point route, they can't just eliminate a route - the longer sailing means that they'll have to increase the sailings on that route to move as many passengers and cars.
For commuters, there's another harbour to harbour hydrofoil or catamaran service proposed, or otherwise commuters take seaplanes (which can get fogged in).
The mid-Island express started in 1990 and ran through Departure bay until Duke Point opened in 1997. It was built as a shortcut for Island trucking heading to the rest of BC and the US. But it also served an important function after an accident at Horseshoe bay. The parking lot there used to be absolutely terrible - very steep - and in 1990 a dumptruck loaded with hot asphalt lost control down the hill and slammed into a van waiting in line at the ferries, killing 2 and injuring 7. The NDP planned on banning truck traffic through Horseshoe Bay (and I think it was for a while until Horseshoe was upgraded) and force all truck traffic through Duke Point. This would allow Departure Bay - Horseshoe bay to focus on passenger traffic, thus the Fast Ferries were born.
The existence of 2 terminals in Nanaimo is the brain child of the NDP that wanted to use Departure bay for Fast Ferries with a focus on walk on passengers, with most vehicle traffic going through Duke Point. The fast ferries don't exist, so I'm surprised it has taken this long to reexamine the need for 2 terminals serving Nanaimo (although I believe this has been talked about much before in a less official capacity).