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General News · 22nd November 2017
Paul Ryan
RANTING and remembering about ferry overloads last summer? It's about to get worse! Once the fares go down next year and the senior's discount goes back to it's original amount, ridership is bound to go up. Last August, the Quadra to Campbell River leg had 163 overloads. Your FAC is looking for ways to try and alleviate this. After meeting with BCF people yesterday, we came up with a plan which would go into effect if there is an ongoing overload problem. The plan would be to implement a "load and go" process. So, once the boat is filled with vehicles,regardless of the time, the boat would leave and head for the other side. If there was not a full load on the other side, they would load the vehicles waiting and return. They would continue doing this until the overload problem is rectified. The other change would be that instead of taking a lot of time trying to squeeze 1 or 2 more vehicles on, The person on the deck would get one call to send more vehicles from the parking lot. They would then lift the ramp and go. There is one problem with this. The schedule would go "out the window"! There would be no set schedule while they were in Load and Go mode.(from both sides) So if you were expecting to get on a ferry leaving at the regular time, you might have to wait. We have asked for notices to be posted once they convert to this plan. (both physical and digital) The FAC would like your input on this. Do you think this is a good plan? Will it work? We are looking for some sort of consensus on this before we go back to BCF with the go ahead. You can either post your comments here, email me or phone 285-3896.
Free ferries
Comment by okellhammer on 29th November 2017
Interesting to note that for passengers in NYC the heavily used Staten Island ferry is free and the smaller East River ferries are $2.75. Why not do this for foot passengers on our local boats?
Quadra too?
Comment by Brigid on 24th November 2017
If Quadra doesn't adopt a similar 'load and go' policy, won't all the Cortes traffic just end up stuck on Quadra anyway?
Comment by Dana Solomon on 19th November 2017
I am concerned with the Load and Go, that a lack of schedule to count on would inconvenience people who have important appointments (medical and otherwise) or time sensitive needs that require advance planning.
Opportunity to find alternatives to car...
Comment by max thaysen on 19th November 2017
Between ridesharing (, asking for rides, Quadra taxi, the Cortes Connection, and transit in CR, perhaps some or even many of the folks driving to town can leave their vehicles on Cortes.
Its easily worth the effort and $$ in the summer when the ferry overloads.
Additional sailings
Comment by Sandy on 18th November 2017
I try to avoid going off the rock as much as possible so am not all that affected but many don’t have that option. Many have to use the ferry regularly for work, medical reasons, family, etc. and have no choice but to rely heavily upon the ferries. It bothers me to hear it is not possible to add extra sailings and starts me questioning. One of the great strengths I have seen on this island is a lot of creative, resourceful, out-of-the-box thinkers. Usually there are other ways and it just takes finding them.
Take a look at other Gulf islands, with similar populations, and their first and last ferry leaving times.
Texada: 6am & 8:35pm
Pender: 6:30am & 8:45pm
Mayne: 7am & 9:30pm
Denman: 6:40am & 9:10pm
Hornby: 7:30am & 9:30pm
Galiano: 6:25am & 11:05pm
I think my math is pretty good. I can at least see that all these islands have found a way for service starting before ours and ending far later than ours. How did they do it? Midday shift change? It seems there must be a way to have additional sailings but maybe it needs to be looked at differently.

Other incentives could also be introduced that could help reduce the overload such as discounts on midday sailings. Those people who could leave later may do that if there was an extra benefit of reduced rates thus helping to relieve some of the early morning pressure.
Load and Go realities
Comment by Tom Bohart on 18th November 2017
On Load and Go, the ferry can save about 20 minutes per round trip, or one sailing per day. Practically every car will get to the other side sooner, or the same. If you miss a sailing because it already left, you were going to miss it from overload. Once the ferry goes on Load and Go, it has to stay on it all day, or sit for over an hour one side and face overloads later. If there are six cars left behind on the last ferry, they will do an extra run, and you get home at nine. Load and Go could be a predictable schedule, so walk-ons could adapt. I don't see any better ideas here.
crossing time, extra sailings
Comment by Shane on 17th November 2017
To make an informed decision we need to know how quickly the ferry could shuttle when in overload mode. If shuttling can fit in an extra three sailings a day then this could really help with overload problems.

When you're looking at a one sailing wait on Cortes and and 1 sailing wait on Quadra, the schedule isn't really doing us much good. Walk on and Cortes Connection could be accommodated by keeping to the schedule for certain sailings.
walk on passengers
Comment by Sebastien D on 17th November 2017
This measure seems a bit car-centric.

Walk on passengers and users of shared transportation such as the Cortes connection would be disadvantaged by ferries leaving unexpectedly before schedule.

Car users might gain 15 minutes when going to CR. On the way back, they would not gain anything overall if trying to catch a ferry to Cortes.

On the other end, walk on passengers might lose 2 hours because they missed the Cortes ferry or their booked transportation in C.R.

Foot passengers also tend to not have smartphones (for notices) or a choice as to what time they arrive at the ferry terminal.

Maybe foot passengers will prefer using a car the following time to avoid the extra uncertainty...
Practical considerations
Comment by Richard Lawton on 17th November 2017
'Load and Go' is probably the best that can be achieved without increasing the size of the ferry vessel.

What is the slack time of a regular run?

From this the total amount of available catch up time can be figured out. (i.e. how many extra runs are possible in the sum of the slack times.)

Anticipating overload could improve things further. (a guessing game that starts extra runs before overload actually happens and smoothly drops back to regular schedule once the peak is under control)

Is the number of possible extra runs sufficient to absorb (most) real world overloads?

In other words, will "Load and Go" actually solve the problem?

If so it's great...

(No need to worry about loss of schedule when overload occurs... everyone will get there sooner than they otherwise would...)
Ferry logistics
Comment by Dietrich Schwarz on 17th November 2017
This is a bad plan.
1) It does not increase ferry capacity for cars, an essential ingredient for an overload remedy.
2) It ignores the needs of foot passengers.
3) It destroys a reliable schedule, a necessity for any public transport.
Respectfully, Dietrich.
Add a Sailing?
Comment by Paul Ryan on 17th November 2017
Do the math. Not possible without going into overtime for crew.
Add a ferry sailing?
Comment by Ashley on 16th November 2017
Why not just add an extra ferry sailing? It seems to make more sense than throwing the schedule out the window.