BC Ferries Experience Card PSA

You probably use an Experience Card to receive a discounted ferry fare. Please note that on April 1, 2023 the Minimum Stored Values that BCF requires in order to receive the reduced rates are changing, and as a result all auto-reload settings will be switched off to allow customers to set their new minimum load value for the corresponding card. On or after April 1st, you will need to log into your account at https://www.bcferries.com/routes-fares/ferry-fares/card-login to set up your new auto-reload value. Select the left panel “Auto Load/Purchase Tab” to update your minimum load values. This is (sadly) not an April Fool’s joke.

These are the new Minimum Stored Values:

  • Passenger only, minimum of $50 to receive access to Passenger-Only reduced fares on participating routes;
  • Standard Vehicle (up to 20 feet) and Passenger, minimum of $100 to receive access to Standard Vehicle and Passenger reduced fares on participating routes.

Gabriola FAC Meeting and BCF Community Drop-In Session March 11

The Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee will be meeting with BC Ferries and the public is invited to attend.

  • Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Date: Saturday, March 11, 2023
  • Location: Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre

If you are unable to attend this meeting but would like to provide input, please feel free to email the FAC at gabriola.fac@gmail.com with details of your question or concern. Please do not join us at the meeting if you are feeling unwell.

BC Ferries is also hosting a Community Drop-In Session following the FAC Meeting.

  • Time: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Date: Saturday, March 11, 2023
  • Location: Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre

For more information about the session or if you wish to provide feedback directly to BC Ferries but are unable to attend, please contact: Engagement@bcferries.com.

BC Ferries has also added “Community Pages” to their website to provide local route-specific information and opportunities for customers to interact directly with BCF on matters related to ferry service. Access the Gabriola Island BCF Community page here.

Seeking Expressions of Interest

Expressions of Interest are invited from individuals who are interested in representing our community on the Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee. For more information about becoming a member please contact Steve Earle, FAC Chair at steven.earle@viu.ca.

Please note that the Gabriola FAC Facebook account is *not* monitored, so any and all inquiries should be submitted by email to Steve at the above address.

Schedule Change Beginning November 8

BC Ferries has advised the FAC of schedule changes planned for the Gabriola -Nanaimo route starting Tuesday, November 8. The changes being planned are:

  • On Saturdays there will now be 4:35 pm and 5:05 pm sailings from both Nanaimo and Gabriola. To achieve this the 6:35 am from Nanaimo and the 7:05 am from Gabriola will be dropped in favour of the higher-demand times in the afternoon.
  • The 6:35 am sailings from Nanaimo will be dropped seven days a week. BC Ferries has found these sailings are not well utilized but are driving delays, crew overtime, and fatigue because of the additional time required first thing in the morning to shift from the tie-up berth in the boat basin to the operational berth at Nanaimo Harbour. The plan is to take the ship directly from the tie-up berth to Descanso Bay to commence two-ship service from Gabriola starting with the well-utilized 7:05 am departure.

Snuneymuxw First Nation and BC Ferries Sign Protocol Agreement

On July 28, 2022 Snuneymuxw First Nation and BC Ferries signed a Protocol Agreement based on a recognition of Snuneymuxw’s rights under the Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854 that protects and preserves Snuneymuxw lands and waters, and enables trade and commerce in their territory. The agreement also affirms the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as the framework for reconciliation between the two parties. 

In a tweet on the same day, SFN stated the agreement represents “the first step in building a strong partnership between the two parties built on mutual respect, recognition, mutual benefit and cooperation”.

The joint press release can be found here: https://www.bcferries.com/news-releases/bcf-ands-nuneymuxw-first-nation-enter-into-relationship-agreement

The Gabriola FAC is delighted to see the finalization of this agreement between the Snuneymuxw First Nation and BC Ferries. We recognize that relations between BCF and SFN have been strained in the past, and we look forward to better cooperation in the future through an understanding that is based on respect for the 1854 Snuneymuxw Treaty that protects and preserves SFN rights to lands and waters of this region.”

Tidal Restrictions for Drivers of Long or Low Loads

BC Ferries has issued guidelines for Tidal Restrictions for long loads, low loads and vehicles with significant overhangs traveling on the Gabriola-Nanaimo Route.

These guidelines provide clarity for drivers of RVs, vehicles with trailers, and commercial vehicles who need to determine when they can expect to safely board the ferry.

The FAC has added this information to our website under Travel Information / Tidal Restrictions. Please bookmark this page for future reference.

Ferry cancellations tonight, passenger water taxi service in place

As per BC Ferries service notice, all sailings on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route have been cancelled tonight, June 25, starting with the 5:40 pm Gabriola Island departure until the end of the day. This is due to a crewing issue.

5:40 pm departing Gabriola Island
6:15 pm departing Nanaimo Harbour
6:50 pm departing Gabriola Island
7:30 pm departing Nanaimo Harbour
8:00 pm departing Gabriola Island
9:10 pm departing Nanaimo Harbour
9:40 pm departing Gabriola Island
10:05 pm departing Nanaimo Harbour
10:30 pm departing Gabriola Island
11:00 pm departing Nanaimo Harbour

The last departures on this route tonight will be the 4:35 pm departing Gabriola Island and the 5:05 pm departing Nanaimo Harbour.

A water taxi has been sourced and will provide complimentary service on the regular posted schedule beginning with the 5:40 pm sailing from Gabriola Island.

BC Ferries Crewing and Hiring Update

First off, the Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee would like to offer a giant thank you to the Gabriola and Nanaimo ship and shore crews who so consistently go above and beyond to keep our boats running. You are all so appreciated.

The FAC has received the following message from BC Ferries regarding their current crewing and hiring situation.

A dedicated recruiting team have been working tirelessly to bring the right people into the right roles at BC Ferries. They have been seeking qualified people to fill open positions, and to foster relationships with other potential candidates who may be suitable hires in the future.

Since January, we’ve hired more than 850 people – about 500 of those are seasonal and/or casual employees. In spite of these additions we still have approximately 160 ship based vacancies to fill. These key vacancies have been and are the ones with the most impact on our ability to sail.

Currently, the number of qualified licensed mariners in senior categories being hired is similar to the number of retirements.

We have recently introduced new signing and retention payment policies of up to $10,000 to focus on filling key ship based roles for eligible workers, including:

  • referral payments
  • new employee signing payments
  • incentives for new and returning seasonal employees, as well as guaranteed hours of work over the peak summer season
  • payments for former employees who return to work
  • retention payment for employees who had indicated their intention to retire and remain working longer.

While fortunately our route seems to have largely recovered from the serious crewing shortage we experienced earlier this year, this is a good reminder that the personnel margins are slim, and that the most important asset of our ferry service (or any service) is the people who show up day in and day out to keep things moving.

Public Drop-In Session with BC Ferries before FAC Meeting

BC Ferries have announced that they will be holding a public drop-in session next Monday, May 9 before the FAC meeting at the Agi Hall.

This is your opportunity to connect directly with BC Ferries representatives to provide feedback and ask questions about the new 2-ship service, facilities and schedules, and any other ferry-related issue you may have on your mind.

Date: Monday, May 9th, 2022
Time: 12:00pm – 1:15pm (Drop-in session) / 2:00pm – 4:30pm (FAC meeting)
Location: Agi Hall, 465 South Rd., Gabriola

For more information about the drop-in session please contact Darin Guenette, Strategy & Community Engagement, BC Ferries at darin.guenette@bcferries.com.

In light of the fact that COVID has been spreading rapidly on the island, the FAC requests that those who wish to attend wear masks, practice social distancing, and do not join us if you are feeling unwell. You can also attend the FAC meeting online via WebEx – for joining details please email gabriolafac@gmail.com.

Gabriola FAC Meeting May 9

The Gabriola FAC will be having our first in-person meeting with BC Ferries since before COVID. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 9 at 2pm at the Agi Hall. In light of the fact that COVID has been spreading rapidly on the island, the FAC requests that those who which to attend wear masks, practice social distancing, and do not join us if you are feeling unwell.

If you are unable to attend this meeting but would like to provide input, please feel free to email the FAC at gabriola.fac@gmail.com with details of your question or concern.