The last long weekend of summer is almost here. BC Ferries has some travel tips for customers planning to take the ferry between Thursday, August 30 and Tuesday, September 3, including families who want to squeeze in one more summer trip before the kids go back to school.
Historically, the most popular travel times are Thursday and Friday afternoon, as well as Saturday morning, with lots of travellers departing from Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals. Labour Day Monday and the following Tuesday morning are typically the most popular times for people to return from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.
To avoid sailing waits, BC Ferries recommends customers make a reservation, or travel at less busy times. The best times to travel and travel tips are available on the Travel Planning pages at bcferries.com.
To help customers get the most out of their late summer-early fall travel plans, BC Ferries is extending the popular Bring it All promotion. Until October 9, customers can save when travelling with an extra length recreational vehicle. Travellers with vehicles longer than 20 feet (6.1 metres) will pay only $3.25 per additional foot (regularly $6.50) on select sailings on two of the routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Discounts apply to specific sailings on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen – Duke Point routes. Details of the promotion can be found at bcferries.com/promotions.
Labour Day long weekend travel tips
Reserve in advance: Reserve early to secure a spot on the sailing time of your choice. Customers with flexibility can travel at off-peak times to avoid the rush. Reserve online at bcferries.com. Reserved customers do not have sailing waits, even when multiple waits are reported.
Arrive early: Customers with reservations should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes before their anticipated sailing.
Check-in smoothly: Follow traffic control flaggers and have your booking reference number ready upon arrival at the ticket booth to expedite the check-in process if you have made a reservation.
Be prepared for sailing waits: At popular times, customers travelling without a reservation may experience sailing waits. The best times to travel are posted on the Travel Planning pages at bcferries.com.
Consider parking options: Parking lots at the major terminals fill up quickly on long weekends. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion. When parking lots fill up, BC Ferries informs customers via Twitter @BCFerries and on the website.
Ride-share, if possible: BC Ferries encourages customers to carpool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space can fill up quickly and will be sold out at popular times.
Travel at off-peak times and get a deal: Until September 4, the Sunrise and Sunset Savings promotion features savings on more than 1,600 early morning and late evening sailings. Select sailings are discounted to $49, $59 or $69 for a one-way standard passenger vehicle and driver on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen – Duke Point and Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay routes. For details, visit bcferries.com/promotions.
Celebrate Labour Day: Enjoy entertainment at major terminals while waiting for the ferry. There will be face painting, bubble machines, mascots, magic and more. The Coastal Naturalists will be on site at varying times throughout the long weekend.