General News · 6th June 2014
Summary Notes re. Ferry Schedule Change - prior to FAC Meeting 10 June 2014, 9 AM-12 PM
Present: FAC Chair Paul Ryan, Members Noba Anderson, Bertha Jeffrey, Uschi Koebberling (Meeting Chair), Rod Lee plus ~30 members from the Cortes community.
Purpose of meeting: to explain reasons for ferry schedule change and get initial feedback from community on new schedule.
Uschi and Paul explained the background to the ferry schedule change, namely the required cut of 7 round trips per week of Route 23 (Quadra-Campbell River). The BC Ministry suggested evening cuts were not workable, as were options developed by BC Ferry Corp. around midday. The current schedule, worked out at a meeting of the FAC and invited additional community members, aims to create the least negative impacts.
Key points raised:
1. The new schedule is tighter and there have been cases of ferries leaving before the connecting cars arrived (e.g. 16:40 C.R. /17:10 Heriot Bay, and 11:50 Whaletown / 12:55 Q.Cove);. Boats need to communicate delays and how many cars are coming, and connecting ferries need to wait for them. – See also letter Lovena Harvey
2. The connection 16:40 C.R. – 17:10 Heriot Bay is too tight, effectively allowing only 15 minutes to unload and cross Quadra. This is unrealistic. Same for especially when Cortes ferry is late and
3. Loading order and disembarking: crew need to pay attention to sequence. Do not unload all of the middle lane of Quadra ferry before unloading Cortes bound traffic. Once Cortes gets Tachek back, unloading in sequence of loading will become a bigger issue than already at present. Learn Shawn Robertson’s system of numbering – as it works well. Call Al Dekonic if unloading is not fair.
4. Issuing numbers for Cortes bound traffic at C.R. ticket booth – especially important in times of overload. Start with # 1 at beginning of day in the order of puchases. – Unresolved issue: Cars from Quadra island.
5. The loss of one round trip in prime time afternoon (17:25 and 18:15) into one at 17:45 has eliminated the earlier optional ferry (17:25) to connect with the last ferry leaving Heriot Bay at 18:45. Now the 17:45 departing C.R. is the only one left. Because this is also a popular ferry for Quadra islanders, demand is high and cars line up early. Several issues:
a. Because of ferry fares, people do group shopping and this schedule with resulting pressure leaves little effective time in town, to the point where people plan on staying overnight in town.
b. If 17:45 ferry is in overload, Cortes islanders loose priority boarding lane. Cortes bound cars need to be given priority for the 17:45 sailing if arriving at reasonable time ahead (TBD: how many minutes ahead to be assured a spot?), as this is the last opportunity to get back to Cortes that day. (Quadra islanders may not like it, but Cortes islanders supported this schedule over the elimination of the last evening run).
c. Overloads and high fares will noticeably reduce tourists coming to Cortes.
d. New schedule is a real trouble for parents with children boarding in C.R. – Last connecting ferry needs to be later than 17:45. Ferry system has to have efficient connections.
e. Reinstate 2nd prime time ferry and eliminate the 19:00 ferry to have 2 connecting ferries to last Cortes sailing.
6. The Saturday morning departure from Whaleton is now 20 minutes earlier (7:30)– too early for kids going to C.R. for classes after a full school week.
7. Start loading earlier on 1st ferry in Whaletown so the ferry leaves on time .
8. Start loading earlier in Heriot Bay, allowing sufficient time for people paying loading crew member, to avoid late departures.
9. Schedule needs to be posted at Heriot Bay Inn and Heriot Shopping Mall. No cell reception at H.B. to call for information or updates.
10. Ferries have made island life a lot more stressful (overloads and too tight connections, in addition to fare hikes).
11. Develop Seymour Narrow Bridge to eliminate C.R. – Quadra ferry.
1. Put up “Do not block intersection” sign at Harbour and Byers Point Road intersection. Mark pavement.
2. Passing school zone on Quadra: Extend West Road so ferry traffic avoids school zone.
3. Dangerous cargo: extend the time for dangerous cargo on Cortes and reduce the time the ferry is laying idle at Heriot Bay; for example. change the 13:50 by 20 minutes to 14:10.
1. How will the extra sailing due to overload work? How will the Cortes crew know if cars are still stuck in C.R. overload? Will cars from the 5:45 C.R. ferry be sent to Quadra, if the ticket booth knows that the Cortes ferry is already full, to make an extra sailing?
2. Why is a reservation system not possible? Reservation system is separate from point of sales of tickets. Reservations could be made online for Cortes to Quadra sailings and the front of the ferry line-up reserved for reservations.