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BC Ferries launches new 'Saver' fare on routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island

BC Ferries hopes the new fare options will help manage an expected increase in demand once travel restrictions are lifted.
bc ferries during covid-19 getty
BC Ferries is introducing two new fare options it says will save customers time and money and them some headaches once pandemic travel restrictions are lifted again in the province. Photo: Getty Images

BC Ferries has announced a new fare program for trips between Metro Vancouver and the Island that they intend to help manage an anticipated increased demand when travel restrictions are lifted.

Available immediately for those needing to conduct essential travel between the major mainland and island hubs, BC Ferries says its new "Saver" fare is its "most affordable fare."

The Saver fare will debut at $73.70 and is expected to drop as low as $49 for travel later this spring on the least-busy sailings; this fare also includes a free reservation. Offered entirely on "less busy sailings," the Saver fare is only accessible with advance purchase.

While currently BC Ferries is meant to provide service for essential trips only, the goal is to make the discounted fares available once the B.C. government allows recreational travel in the province again. 

“When the Province lifts essential travel orders, these fare options will provide our customers more value, flexibility and certainty. They will also help spread traffic across the day, reducing sailing waits at popular times," said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President & CEO in a media release.

Customers will find the "Saver" fare on the three most popular BC Ferries routes: Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Victoria (Swartz Bay), Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Nanaimo (Duke Point) and Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) – Nanaimo (Departure Bay). Collins said those three routes represent about 60 per cent of overall traffic for BC Ferries.

One other new option BC Ferries has now made available is a "Prepaid" fare. BC Ferries said paying for your entire trip in advance provides for "a more efficient experience at the terminal check-in." As an incentive, customers paying the whole trip upfront will see a $7 savings on booking fees if the purchase is more than seven days in advance of travel, and BC Ferries said the "Prepaid" option "offers the greatest flexibility to change a booking."

Of course, BC Ferries customers can still take the gamble of arriving at the terminal and purchasing a fare for the next available sailing, and can also still make a reservation for a trip at a peak time and pay the balance of the fare at the terminal. For those customers travelling during popular sailing times, the fare experience and options will be the same as they are now unless they want to pay for the full trip with the "Prepaid" option.

BC Ferries said the new "Saver" and "Prepaid" fares will be available all year.