Has the Queen left Bowen Island forever?

Russ Francis

(The Bowen Island Undercurrent, October 15th 1993, p1: with permission)

Bowen commuters wait and wonder about whether they'll get to the mainland on time if the Mayne Queen stays in service

Is she coming back or not?

That's what Bowen commuters are wondetring after a cryptic note advised them this week that the Mayne Queen would be continuing on the route "indefinitely".

No definite end is in sight to the late sailings and missed bus connections resulting from the smaller capacity of the 70-car Mayne compared with the 85-car Queen of Capilano it replaces.

B.C. Ferries communications manager Ed McKenzie wasn't communicating.

After a series of calls to his office on Wednesday and Thursday during which he was "in meetings", he left a message with a receptionist saying he would not be able to speak to a reporter until next week.

The manager at the ferries' Hosreshoe Bay terminal said Thursday he knows little.

"The only information I have is that the Mayne Queen will be in service (on the Bowen run) until early November," said the manager, who asked not to be named.

Among the many rumours flying back and forth across the Queen Charlotte Channel is that the Capilano will not be returning to the Snug Cove run, in part because of its higher operating costs.

"They keep talking costs and I know that the Capilano is a very expensive ship to run," transportation committee member Pat McGuire said Thursday. "They'd like to keep the Mayne Queen on the run simply because it it's more economical to run."

B.C. Ferries tripled its loss to $3.4 million for the Bowen route in the last financial year, despite carrying more passengers than the year before.

McGuire added that the corporation needs to communicate better with Bowen Islanders.

"They should be talking to us more, through the community or through Horseshoe Bay (officials)," she said.

"Had they told me at the outset that the Mayne Queen would be on till early November, I'd have shrugged my shoulders and accepted it," McGuire said.

The Capilano was taken off the Bowen run September 20, supposedly just for a refit, estimated at the time to be completed by October 12.

Delays Tuesday morning following the long weekend were among the longest ever, with ferry lineups at one stage reaching as far back as the fire hall.

Some had to wait as many as three sailings before getting on board.

Because of the delay in the Capilano's return, the Undercurrent is harder to buy -- the paper's vending box went with the ferry to the refit yard in Delta.

Page last updated 99-03-05