The Government of B.C. and BC Ferries have agreed to add more ferry sailings between Skidegate and Prince Rupert to better serve the increasing number of travellers on this route, announced Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.
“Adding more ferry sailings between Haida Gwaii and the mainland will support the increased demand and improve access for local residents and businesses,” said Stone. “The substantial growth in traffic on this route is good news for the regional economy, and travellers will benefit from the additional scheduled trips.”
“These communities will be well-served by this improved service,” said Minister of State for Rural and Economic Development, Donna Barnett. “This is a response to local growth and increased opportunity in these areas and represents a strong and thriving local economy.”
“More frequent sailings will be a welcome improvement for our residents who rely on this service to Haida Gwaii as our marine Highway,” said North Coast Regional District Board chair Barry Pages. “Our residents appreciate the Province and BC Ferries recognizing the need for these extra sailings that will help serve our communities and growing tourism economy.”
There are currently two round trips per week between Skidegate and Prince Rupert from mid-September to mid-June, and BC Ferries has been providing additional sailings as traffic volumes have warranted. The addition of a bi-weekly round trip during this period beginning this spring will ensure residents and visitors receive a higher level of service going forward. Peak season service remains unchanged, with five round-trips a week from mid-June to mid-September.
“As the service provider, BC Ferries is responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and reliable service,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries president and CEO. “We are pleased to modify our contract with the Province in order to provide additional sailings for our customers on Haida Gwaii.”
Over the past two years, there has been a significant upturn in the number of passengers and vehicles using this ferry route. The number of vehicles travelling between Skidegate and Prince Rupert last year increased 15%, compared to an average increase of 5% system-wide, with similar growth in the number of passengers travelling. During this fiscal year, traffic growth to December is showing an increase of another 8% for vehicles and passengers, about double the average increase seen across the system.
The Province and BC Ferries will be negotiating the increased service fee required to support this additional service. BC Ferries sails between Skidegate and Prince Rupert year-round. The crossing time is eight hours.
This additional ferry service between Skidegate and Prince Rupert is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities. To further support the needs of rural communities and grow local economies, the Province will be releasing a Rural Economic Development Strategy in the near future.
Get schedules and make reservations on BC Ferries at: www.bcferries.com