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Make BC Ferries Walk-On Foot-Passenger Friendly

It is very nice for BC Ferries to provide free passage for resident seniors as foot passengers between Mondays and Thursdays, it would be nicer if the organization made it easier for seniors, and others, to walk on as foot passengers.

Such a move could help alleviate BC Ferries’ service and staffing woes, not to mention air and noise pollution and traffic congestion and accidents and resulting injuries and deaths from vehicles if it encouraged people to walk-on instead of drive-on.  A move would also make room for critical commercial and must-drive personal traffic, such as for medical appointments.

Although BC Ferries has announced a plan on June 8, 2023 to upgrade its terminals with fare gates for foot passengers, which are likely to be installed by 2025, several issues will remain.

Here are the issues:

  • Very long walks from the terminal drop-off/pickup points, which can be painful for those suffering from arthritis and similar ailments, and inconvenient for passengers with young children.
  • None or inadequate washrooms by the boarding areas. A sudden, long, rushed trip back to the terminal risks missing a sailing.
  • Confusing multiple payment systems when transferring from BC Transit to BC Ferries to TransLink.
  • Inadequate or no transit access, most notoriously at Duke Point, where BC Ferries has shifted some sailings from its transit-served Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay route to prevent westbound traffic backups clogging Highway 99 in West Vancouver, which it could have alleviated by using pricing strategies and would also be reduced by encouraging walk-on and transit passengers.

People who travel without their own vehicles have much smaller footprints, in energy consumption, environment, and space, than those who drive aboard. Footprints that must be paid for.

Transport Action B.C. has been writing to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Rob Fleming, and to the new B.C. Ferries CEO, Nicolas Jimenez, on this issue.

We encourage you to do the same, and also to contact your MLA about it.

After all, it is our ferry system.

For current fares see: https://www.bcferries.com/routes-fares/ferry-fares

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