Traffic surge clogs ferry

by Russ Francis

(The Bowen Island Undercurrent, July 21st 1995, p1: with permission)


Growing passenger traffic is the main reason for regular delays on the Snug Cove ferry, say B.C.Ferries officials.

Forty sailings now leave Horseshoe Bay every day for Bowen, Langdale and Nanaimo-up from 36 last summer.

In the fall, there were typically 32 daily sailings

B.C.Ferries assistant vice president Capt Tom Whelan said Wednesday company policy is to give priority to morning runs for both the Bowen and Langdale ferries arriving Horseshoe Bay.

"We know the problem commuters have in connecting with the blue bus" Whelan said.

Horshoe Bay terminal manager Dave Elliott said this week many more people are coming to Bowen Island this year than last.

Usually the Snug Cove trip is overloaded just for the 5.25 afternoon sailing,he said.

"Now its spread out to the 4.25 and 6.25,"Elliott said.

Last June 30-the Friday of the Canada day long weekend-every sailing between 2.30 and 7.45pm was overloaded, he added.

"The heavy volumes are slowing us down a little bit."said Elliott.

Congestion at the Horseshoe Bay docks is especially bad around 1pm, when a series of ferries arrives within a short time, including the Equimalt.

"When you have three docks and five ships, something's got to give way." said Elliott.

Adding to the delays over the last week were the mechanical problems on the Queen of Capilano.

On July 13 the Capilano struck an unknown submerged object, damaging a "leg", or propellers.

But as no replacement vessel was available until last Sunday, the ferry limped along on its three remaining propellers.

After a second propeller lost power, the Capilano had to be helped into Snug Cove berth by a tug.

The problems didn't end there

The replacement vessel, the Capilano's sister ship Cumberland,lost power to its propellers, leaving it with three.

A crew was due to leave Horseshoe Bay yesterday to pick up the Capilano at the Tsawwassen docks, where it was being repaired this week.

Provided sea trials were successful, the Capilano was expected to be back on the Snug Cove run by last night, after the Undercurrent's deadline.

Bowen transportation committee member Doug Sinkinson said all Bowen trips but the very early ones seem to be delayed by 20 or 30 minutes, though few object.

"People are saying, just drive down and get in the lineup-it'll get there eventually."


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