Are you planning on getting off Vancouver Island for the Remembrance Day weekend? You’re not alone.
The ferry from Victoria to the mainland is fully booked for Friday until 9 p.m. and then until noon on Saturday. Departures from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay are also reserved until 5:55 p.m. Nov. 9, but both have the option for standby. Foot passengers are not included in the reservation system.
BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said they’ve added extra sailings to their busiest route this weekend, between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. Usually, their offseason only uses two ferries on the route, but three will be in service for Remembrance Day weekend.
BC Ferries traffic forecast for Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay reads Friday, Nov.9, and Monday, Nov. 12, as ‘very busy’ while Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday are expected to be ‘busy’. The route between Vancouver and Nanaimo is also expected to be very busy on Friday and Monday, and busy on Nov. 11.
“Generally, customers do book in advance for long weekends,” Marshall said. “We do have lots of room for standby traffic, though. Just because the reservation space is full, it doesn’t mean the ship is full.”
In BC Ferries’s latest submission to the commissioner, holiday travel patterns are outlined. Forecasts for holidays that fall on different days of the week every year, like Remembrance Day and Christmas, are determined through historical patterns.
“The busiest weekend for us is generally the B.C. Day long weekend in August. We do see an increase in traffic on long weekends. This one is not so much because the weather plays a factor for some customers and you don’t see campsites filling up in November, but we do anticipate some extra traffic this weekend,” she said.
The holiday that presents the most significant impact on a fiscal year’s traffic, the report said, is Easter because it could fall in a fiscal year twice since it straddles March and April. The fiscal year ends on March 31.
“In addition, the alignment of Easter with spring break has a large impact on the traffic generated by this holiday,” the report said.
Although warmer months see peak traffic levels, Christmas “has a significant weight,” especially as school and work vacations can change timing each year.
Marshall suggested checking current conditions and travel advisories on the BC Ferries website, and travelling by foot when possible.