Effective Feb. 1, travellers using the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route
will be able to choose either a PacifiCat or a conventional vessel, BC Ferries' President and CEO Bob Lingwood said
The conventional vessel's return to the route will mean trucks, buses and longer recreational vehicles will once again be carried between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo. This service will be offered on a revised schedule for the rest of this calendar year during the gradual phase-in of the PacifiCats.
In addition, assured loading tickets will again be accepted on this route effective March 15. Assured loading tickets on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route were discontinued at the end of June in anticipation of fast-ferry-only service and expanded reservations, which were intended to manage demand and reduce traffic congestion at the terminals.
"Under the new departure times, the first sailings each day will leave each terminal at 6:30 a.m., 15 minutes earlier than at present," said Lingwood. "The last sailings from both Horseshoe Bay
and Departure Bay will leave at 9 p.m."
Earlier this month, Lingwood and BC Ferries' board chair, Michael Francis, announced a conventional ferry would replace one of the PacifiCats on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route to allow the fast ferries to be phased in more gradually.
The schedule on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route will return to eight round trips on weekdays.
"The original number was increased to nine Monday through Friday to provide extra commercial vehicle capacity when the PacifiCats were used exclusively on the Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay route," said Lingwood.