VICTORIA, B.C, [Jan. 13, 2000) –A conventional ferry will be reinstated on the Depar-ture Bay ? Horseshoe Bay route, beginning Feb. 1, 2000, but the reinstatement will last only until the end of the year.
BC Ferries’ board chair Michael Francis and president Bob Lingwood said Wednesday that the so-called fast-ferries should be phased in more gradually in order to assess their impact on users.
“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The C-class ferries were withdrawn from service on Jan. 4, and replaced by two of the PacifiCat fast ferries, leaving truckers andother over-height vehicles no other option than to sail from Tsawwassen to Duke Point. Trucks had been effectively banned from the Horseshoe Bay Terminal, which caused delays at the Tsawwassen terminal and traffic congestion on Hwy. 10, through Langley, Surrey and North Delta.
Under the new service plan, one conventional C-class vessel will be based at Horseshoe Bay until the end of the year, while both PacifiCats will be moved to Departure Bay. “The C-class vessel will remain on this route through Dec. 31, 2000,” said Lingwood. “Tour operators and truckers can be assured that their buses and commercial vehicles will be accommodated on the Horseshoe Bay ? Departure Bay route for this year.”
British Columbia Trucking Association president Paul Landry had forecasted massive delays at the Tsawwassen terminal this summer as trucks and RVs jostled for the limited amount of space on the C-class ferry. Karen Westerby, the association’s director of business programs said yesterday that some clients are already experiencing expensive delays.
“One of our members has been charged for several hours worth of crew time by a customer who had a specialized crew on site waiting to unload his truck,” Westerby said. “And we’re beginning to hear complaints from the residents of North Delta about the increased truck traffic.”
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