NO REALLY: Just one ferry ride away from losing my mind

Islanders can sympathize with the Surrey senior who 'lost it' while waiting in the Nanaimo ferry line-up

Many Islanders will sympathize with the Surrey senior who lost his cool in the ferry line-up last Sunday.

Stuck on Nanaimo’s Brechin Hill, leading to Departure Bay, the 65-year-old was told there was a three-sailing wait and he would have to leave and come back a couple hours later because there was no more room on the hill.

At this point frustration reached a boiling point as he pulled his 1998 Volvo onto the sidewalk.

Things only got worse when the RCMP stepped in, asked the driver for his licence, but instead he drove away. The cops found him shortly later and, according to Mounties, the officer was so concerned about the safety of others that he jumped into the Volvo and put it in park.

The man was arrested for obstruction and, by this time, I suspect, it was more than a three-sailing wait.

You can’t condone fleeing from police, but I can appreciate the man’s state of mind. I was just coming off the ferry from Vancouver as the sidewalk drama was unfolding. I didn’t see the commotion because I was intent on getting the heck out of strip-mall-city.

I too was more than a little frustrated with BC Ferries after arriving  at the Horseshoe Bay terminal at 11:30 a.m. With no $17.50 reservation, I was shunted to the line-up for the low caste of society and waited for more than three hours until finally driving onto the Queen of Cowichan.

It was almost five o’clock when we pulled into Nanaimo. This made me consider the absurdity of travelling a “whopping” 25 kilometres on one of the busiest ferry routes in North America.

To put it into perspective, five-and-a-half hours was an hour longer than it took me to fly from Toronto to Vancouver. While in Toronto, I drove 1,000 kilometres to see relatives in Louisville, Kentucky. The drive took 10 hours, less than double the time it took to cross the Strait of Georgia.

It’s little wonder more people don’t lose their minds, like the Surrey senior, when they travel to or from Vancouver with BC Ferries.

One thing the police failed to mention was whether this man was given a guarantee he would be on the third sailing. I’m not sure I would want to leave either “for a couple hours” then return to find out I’m now waiting five sailings.


I know there were some mechanical difficulties that day with one of the ships, but the route is busy seven days a week. Why oh why the ferry corporation doesn’t add another vessel to this route is a mystery few of us will ever solve.

And it’s not the price of the ferry ride which bugs me, it’s the seemingly endless waiting. In fact, next time I’ll pay more to fly to my airline connection and basically save myself a day of vacation.

I know there are more people who think the same and surely BC Ferries knows this too. If they can improve the food on BC Ferries, they can at least try to improve service.