August ferry traffic up ….. or was it?

At first sight, BC Ferries’ traffic report for August 2012 makes good reading.

After months of decline, vehicle and passenger traffic on the major routes to the mainland rose by 2.3% and 3.3% respectively compared to the same month last year – a sure sign that the good weather brought tourists back to the islands.

Among the minor routes, many of which are still in the doldrums with negative traffic growth, Route 19 to Gabriola actually achieved the highest percentage increase of any route in the BC Ferries network for the month of August. Vehicle traffic was up by 5.3% compared to August 2011 and passenger traffic rose by 4.9%.

But wait a minute. Remember last August?  That paving contractor’s truck went off the trestle in Nanaimo Harbour and closed the Nanaimo terminal for most of the month. Vehicles were diverted through Duke Point and walk-on passengers had to take a water taxi into town. This time last year, BC Ferries reported August vehicle traffic on Route 19 was down by 7% and passenger traffic down 6% compared to August 2010.

So this August, despite the recovery, vehicle traffic is actually still down 2% and passenger traffic down 1% from August 2010 levels.

It’s good, but it’s not that good.

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