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Island-bound for the long weekend? BC Ferries forced to cut capacity on major route

The change could affect passengers with reservations, and mean longer sailing waits for those without
The Coastal Renaissance, seen here in 2007, is being deployed to replace the Spirit of Vancouver Island to serve Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay travellers over the Thanksgiving long weekend, affecting capacity on the Vancouver-Victoria route Oct. 8-12, 2021. Photo: BC Ferries

A mechanical issue with one of its vessels has forced BC Ferries to make changes that will reduce capacity on a major route connecting Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

BC Ferries issued a service alert on Oct. 5, indicating the Spirit of Vancouver Island has to come off the Tsawwassen (Vancouver)-Swartz Bay (Victoria) route, but the vessel coming online to replace it can't accommodate as many vehicles or passengers.

"The Coastal Renaissance will be repositioned to assist with service recovery for the Spirit of Vancouver Island, which is currently experiencing a mechanical difficulty with the starboard gearbox," explains BC Ferries, adding: "As the Coastal Class vessel is smaller than the Spirit Class vessel, capacity will be reduced. Customers without bookings on this route should prepare for sailing waits."

The modified schedule is in effect October 8 through 12, says BC Ferries.

BC Ferries indicates it will contact all passengers with reservations affected by the schedule change. 

"Every effort will be made to accommodate bookings on the next available sailing. If we are unable to accommodate, bookings will be cancelled and reservation fees refunded. Travel will revert to standby basis," explains BC Ferries.

Those travelling between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island can also move their trip to use other area terminals, namely the Tsawwassen-Duke Point or Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay routes.