When summer approaches, our ferry gets busier – and with that comes longer line-ups at busy times of the day.
As Gabriolans, we’re hardened to that, of course, but with many newcomers and visitors to the island here are some hints to make queueing for the ferry on Gabriola safer and less stressful for everyone:
- The ferry line-up starts opposite the Skol pub on North Road and extends up the hill, then round the corner into Taylor Bay Road. If you’re first in line, please pull forward to the stop line and leave space in front for motorcycles and emergency vehicles, which will be loaded onto the ferry first.
- The ferry has space for about 70 vehicles (fewer if there are large trucks or trailers on board) and a sign on Taylor Bay Road indicates the point at which that capacity may be reached and you may find yourself waiting for the next ferry. The position of the sign assumes that there will be no gaps in the ferry line-up.
- When you join the line-up, please park close to the vehicle in front of you – don’t leave a large gap, as that will make the line-up longer for everyone. Sunshine or Shade – please park within 1 metre of the vehicle in front. If it’s hot, open your windows or take a walk!
- At the junction with Taylor Bay Road, we understand you may not want to park on the steepest part of the hill, but please park as close as possible to the junction and make sure you can see the vehicle in front of you in the line-up. Don’t get left behind because you didn’t notice the line-up had moved!
- Large trucks may wait in the oversize vehicle bay on North Road. If they arrived before you, please let them into the line-up when the ferry starts loading.
- Once the line-up extends into Taylor Bay Road, please use the turning bay to join the line-up. Don’t U-turn on the highway – and don’t block the turning bay.
- If the line-up extends beyond the turning bay, please follow the signs to the next U-turn point at the junction with Ivory Way. U-turns along Taylor Bay Road are dangerous and you may cause an accident if you ignore the warning signs. Illegal U-turns may also get you a traffic violation ticket.
- If the line-up reaches the narrow bridge at Mallett Creek, please observe the “No stopping on pavement” signs and don’t park on the bridge.
- On exceptionally busy days, the line-up can extend as far as Ivory Way. If it does, don’t block the turning bay (or the entrance to the campground) – go down Ivory Way to the turning point and join the line-up in Ivory Way. Don’t queue on Taylor Bay Road beyond the campground.
- Stay safe and remember the five golden rules:
- Don’t leave unnecessary gaps in the line-up
- Don’t let your engine idle for long periods
- Don’t U-turn on the highway, you may cause an accident
- Don’t open your doors without checking for passing traffic (and bikes)
- Don’t stand in the roadway for that chat – stay out of the traffic!
Remember also that ferries from Gabriola are always busiest during the morning – especially in the summer months. There are several ways you can make your journey less stressful:
- If you can, leave your journey until later in the day when ferries are less busy
- Visit our webpage for the Best Times to Travel and print off our handy guide.
- Check out the Gabriola Ferry Cameras before you set off
- Visit the BC Ferries website for any Service Notices affecting the Gabriola ferry
- Allow plenty of time if you must catch a particular ferry or have a connection to make.
- If you don’t need to take your car, don’t! Think transit; think Gertie
Four weeks ago, BC Ferries announced the cancellation of the 1.10pm from Nanaimo and 3.05pm from Gabriola on Saturday, March 12 to accommodate the testing of the marine evacuation equipment on MV Quinsam. This is a regulatory requirement imposed by Transport Canada.
Following concerns expressed by the FAC about the long gap this would cause, BC Ferries has agreed to provide a substitute water taxi service leaving Nanaimo at 1.10pm and 2.25pm, and returning from Gabriola at 1.50pm and 3.05pm.
Customers are reminded that there will be no vehicle ferry leaving Nanaimo after 11.55am until 3.45pm, and no vehicle ferry leaving Gabriola after 12.35pm until the 4.20pm departure on Saturday, March 12.
BC Ferries today announced further fare discounts between March 10-29, with 30% discounts on selected sailings on Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays. The standard round-trip passenger fare between Nanaimo and Gabriola will be $7.85 for adults and $3.95 for children – and for BC Seniors on Monday to Thursday.
For anyone with an Experience Card, though, standard passenger fares are already discounted by 42%, so your fares won’t change.
These are the sailings on which the 30% discount applies:
Government-funded study concludes costs outweigh benefits of bridge to Gabriola Island
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS RELEASE
Results of the Gabriola Island Fixed Link Feasibility Study conclude that while a bridge appears to be technically feasible, it would not be a cost-effective alternative to the current ferry link.
Because of this, the Government of British Columbia will not consider a fixed link to Gabriola Island at this time.
“There is simply not enough compelling evidence to proceed with further work on a fixed link to Gabriola Island,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “Our goal is ensure coastal communities are connected in an affordable, efficient and sustainable manner. This study shows that continuation of a coastal ferry service for Gabriola Island residents is the best way to achieve that goal.”
The study examined alignments, road connections, construction cost, operation and maintenance costs, travel time, reliability and flexibility for potential users. It also includes a high‐level assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of such a connection. Feasible options were evaluated against the existing ferry service.
The study confirms that a number of combinations of possible road and bridge options exist, ranging in cost from $258 million to $520 million. The average estimated project cost is $359 million, on which the business case was based. However, the costs outweigh the measured benefits.
Beyond the business case, the study notes there are other significant considerations for government if the project were to proceed, including archaeological and environmental conditions.
The report was prepared for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure by CH2MHill.
The Gabriola Island Fixed Link Feasibility Study is available on the ministry’s website:
The Fall meeting of the Ferry Advisory Committee takes place this Monday (November 2) starting at 3pm in the GAC Hall (behind the Post Office) in Gabriola.
FAC members have asked BC Ferries for information about the results of the recent passenger fare reduction and for an explanation of the level of savings achieved by the 2014 service cuts to our route. We have also asked BC Ferries to provide a review of the impacts of the April 2015 schedule change including, specifically, the early afternoon gap in the schedule at weekends.
With a five-week experimental fare discount on vehicle fares starting later this month, we will be asking BC Ferries whether the FAC’s plan (which we discussed at the May meeting) for long-term reductions to evening and weekend fares could now become a reality.
Members of the public are invited to come along and listen to the discussion on Monday; anyone wishing to speak at the meeting should make their wish known to the Chair before the start of the meeting. In my absence, Steven Earle will be taking the chair for this meeting.
The full agenda can be found here .
BC Ferries today announced a five-week vehicle fare discount promotion on selected sailings on all ferry routes starting November 16.
Between November 16 and December 19, standard vehicle fares will be 50% of the regular price, with vehicle fares for Experience Card users reduced by about 20%. The reduced vehicle fares will be available on Mondays to Thursdays and Saturdays. Regular fares will apply on Fridays and Sundays.
For Gabriolans, this means that a round-trip vehicle fare on discounted sailings will cost $13.25, down from the regular vehicle fare of $26.45. Experience Card users will pay $13.25 instead of $16.90. Reduced fares will be available on sailings leaving Nanaimo at the following times:
Normal passenger fares will apply during this promotion.
The 50% discount on vehicle fares will also be available on specified sailings to and from the mainland from Departure Bay and Duke Point. Full details can be found on the BC Ferries website
The start of the Fall schedules bring changes on a number of ferry, bus and air services to and from Nanaimo. Check out our Onward Travel Connections page for details of revised fall and winter schedules on the following routes: