Best times to travel

Demand for car space on the Gabriola ferry can be notoriously difficult to predict. It varies from day-to-day and month-to-month, but the Ferry Advisory Committee is able to access the most recent traffic data available from BC Ferries to prepare charts showing the likely availability of vehicle space on any sailing.

Data is updated every six months so that predicted vehicle space for each month can based on actual traffic volumes reported the previous year.  Our current dataset uses traffic reports from May 2016 up until April 2017. Here is the chart for the current month. For a printable version click here

september BBT

Timing your journey (if you can) to one of the less busy sailings will mean you spend less time in the ferry line-up and leave more space on the busier ferries for people who need to travel at those timesIt’s also a good idea to check the Gabriola FerryCam before you set off on your journey.

The charts use four colours to indicate the likely level of demand for each ferry.  Each chart represents the typical pattern of demand by time of day and day of the week, but doesn’t take account of special events or public holidays. Anticipated traffic levels around public holiday weekends can be seen from the charts at the bottom of the page.

The colour coding used in the charts is as follows:

GREEN indicating there will normally be plenty of vehicle space available.

YELLOW indicating it’s likely that the ferry will be busier – possibly filling up by departure time.

RED indicating the ferry will that be close to full, with potential overloads on some days.

BLACK indicating that the ferry is routinely full, and overloads can be expected on most days.

Remember, once it’s full, it’s full – and you’ll have to wait for the next sailing.  Space for walk-on passengers is usually available on all sailings. Please bear in mind – this information is based on historic data and we can’t be held responsible if traffic on any particular sailing is heavier than predicted!

The links below show the best times to travel with a vehicle.

January                                                  July

February                                                August

March                                                     September

April                                                        October

May                                                          November

June                                                         December

Alternatively, you can download charts for the whole year here.  

Holiday weekends

Holiday weekends are always busy, and to help plan your journey here are charts showing the busiest sailings to and from Gabriola over each holiday period in the past year:

New Year (2017)

Family Day (2017)

Easter (2017)

Victoria Day (2016)

Canada Day (2016)

BC Day (2016)

Labour Day (2016)

Thanksgiving (2016)

Christmas (2016)

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