The first three days of operation saw delays and some overloads for Bowen Queen this week – but by Friday (always a quieter day on our ferry) the situation was starting to settle down.
Wednesday’s service was worst hit – with a combination of an unfamiliar vessel, a salmon fishing fleet stretching across Nanaimo Harbour and more commercial vehicles than the Bowen Queen is designed to handle. All went well until the 7.35am ferry arrived in Nanaimo, to be faced with a line-up of trucks that took up a full 32 minutes before the 8.10 was ready to leave. By then the ferry was already 18 minutes late.
On Wednesday, each turn-round took Bowen Queen an average 4 minutes longer than planned. By Thursday it was down to 3 and Friday’s average was just 2 minutes longer. However, the 8.10am from Nanaimo remains a challenge, with Thursday’s loading taking 26 minutes and 25 minutes on Friday. The planned schedule allows just 15 minutes at this time.
What is clear is that Bowen Queen’s extra turn of speed (14+ knots compared to Quinsam’s 12 knots) makes it possible to recapture some of that lost time – providing the harbour is not congested. Crossing times of 17 minutes are achievable when a speed of 14 knots can be attained.
Also evident are the supreme efforts of the Crew to manage the unloading and loading and minimise delays to the service. As days pass, it will undoubtedly become slicker and hopefully the on-time performance will improve significantly next week.