All change on Horseshoe Bay/Departure Bay ferry

As part of a major shake-up of ferry services in and out of Horseshoe Bay, BC Ferries has announced new schedules to improve services on the Langdale and Bowen Island Routes. These new schedules will include changes to Route 2, between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay in Nanaimo.

Starting January 2, a revised schedule is proposed for Route 2, with minor changes to morning sailings and more significant changes to afternoon and evening departures. Initially this schedule runs up to the end of March, but it seems likely that the core service could remain broadly the same through next summer. [Note: schedules for the remainder of 2018 will be published by the end of September]

Here’s what the changes to the schedule will look like. Note that the departure times will no longer be identical from both ends of the route:HSB At our November FAC meeting we will need to consider whether any adjustments should be made to the Gabriola ferry schedule to accommodate connections with the Route 2.

Do you use the ferry to/from Horseshoe Bay? How will these changes affect your journey? Please give us your views using the comment box below.



13 thoughts on “All change on Horseshoe Bay/Departure Bay ferry

  1. Instead of being able to catch the 5pm from HB after 3 days of work in Vancouver I will have to waste 2hrs 35 min waiting for the 6:35 PM

  2. I rarely use this route but I have in the past caught the 7:35 am off Gabriola and connected with the 8:30 am leaving Departure Bay. Moving the sailing to 8:25 am would make that just a bit more tight but I definitely wouldn’t want to see our 7:35 am ferry leave any earlier. It’s hard enough for the high school kids as it is.

  3. Daytime sailings, the most used, are less frequent and will result in more wait time. The ferries start 15 minutes earlier in the morning (thanks a lot), and finish later at night, but we’ve seen that few people use these late night ferries. Cost saving but NOT customer oriented.

  4. from Beth Carruthers via Facebook : These changes are always a challenge to reconcile with the Gabriola Schedule. I started commuting from Gabriola to Vancouver 20 years ago – and it has not been easy because, unlike in the UK and Europe, where public transport is considered as a bigger picture, BC Ferries has always seemed off on a tangent in that it fails miserably at understanding that each of its ferry runs is part of a bigger interconnected commuter and public transport network. Nor does the city of Nanaimo transit have any ferry on its radar, it seems, never mind connecting boats. This is not a trip between countries (the England-France ferry takes about the same amount of time to cross the channel as does the Departure Bay ferry take to get to the mainland – and the UK and France still connect a train to it either side). It used to be possible to get the first boat from Gabe and by cab connect with the 6:30 am boat from Departure Bay – just. That has not been an option since the last changes to the Quinsam’s schedule. These schedules have been increasingly gloomy for Gabriola commuters. Not having a 7 pm from Departure Bay has been a terrible change. I don’t like arriving at Vancouver at midnight when I have to be at university for 8 am next day. That change means less time at home on Gabriola, and the Nanaimo public bus “links” are on another planet completely. The trip is already long, and it can become brutally long at 7 hours – all because of the failure of public transport (and that’s what ferries are) to think collaboratively across regions. Just because part of the trip involves crossing sea water does not make this an international run – nor does it make this a service for tourists first. It makes me crazy. They can manage to think of connecting Port Moody, Mission (a 2.5 – 3 hour trip by rail), Chilliwack, White Rock, Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay, but they can’t seem to manage thinking in a westerly direction.

  5. from Vanessa Haentjens Dekker via Facebook : I had a four hour hospital procedure in Vancouver yesterday. The amount of travel time it took us to get there and back could have gotten us to the other side of the world. Now it will be even more difficult. My friend from Europe (who lives in Mexico) said our coast was one of the most difficult place for travelling for all the above mentioned reasons. Now with the reserve system, if you don’t know exactly what ferry you will be on, you can pretty much forget about catching a ferry regardless of how early you arrive. Not to mention the extra money BC Ferries is making on everyone reserving now.

  6. from Randi Ballard-Kocher via Facebook : I have not compared the new proposed schedule with a connecting Gabriola ferry fit, but do like the extended late ferry for Vancouver incoming air flight connections and Vancouver concerts. I notice the suggested schedule improvements are occurring in January which is the lowest traffic month of the ferry year. Let’s hope service decisions will not be made during low service runs.

  7. i like the 8:05 horseshoe. we couldn’t take the 9:00 because we didn’t make the 11:00 gabe too many times and had to sleep in the truck.
    please coordinate the 2 sailings- too many times we’d roll up just in time to see the quinsam pulling out.

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