A conventional ferry will replace one of the PacifiCats on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route
starting February 1 to allow the fast ferries to be phased in more gradually, BC Ferries
' board chair Michael Francis and president Bob Lingwood announced
The BC Ferries' board of directors has reviewed the fast ferry implementation program, taking into account concerns of reliability, customer issues and financial considerations. As a result, the corporation's board approved a plan to bring these vessels into service more gradually.
The PacifiCats' operational issues have lessened over the past few weeks; however, it is important the vessels demonstrate more reliability before they resume full service. Concerns were also raised by tourism representatives and commercial vehicle operators over capacity issues of the PacifiCat.
Under the new service plan, a conventional C-class vessel will be based at Horseshoe Bay. Both PacifiCats will be moved to Departure Bay, where they will be alternated for a smoother introduction into active service.
"The PacifiCats are new technology, and our experience to date shows we need to give them more time to be adequately phased in," said Lingwood. "This phase-in period, which will prove the reliability of the PacifiCats, must have the least possible impact on our customers."
The Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo schedule will be adjusted February 1. Service on the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route will be reduced by one round trip Monday through Friday to match capacity with demand.
"The C-class vessel will remain on this route through Dec. 31, 2000," said Lingwood. "Tour operators and truckers can be assured their buses and commercial vehicles will be accommodated on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route for this year."