The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure confirmed Monday that Bowen will be getting back all of the runs it lost in 2014.
In an announcement Friday, the provincial government said BC Ferries would be increasing service on 10 of its routes, including Bowen’s, restoring services cut in 2014.
When BC Ferries cut several weekend runs in 2014, islanders held protests, wrote letters and nearly 1,300 Islanders signed a petition against the move. The cuts notably created commuting difficulties for islanders, affecting nurses, paramedics, firefighters, church directors and more.
In 2017, BC Ferries reinstated four weekend runs as a pilot project, warning that if the runs weren’t profitable, they would likely be cut again. The pilot was due to expire soon.
In 2014, Bowen’s ridership was decreasing as ferry rates rose. In 2018, BC Ferries’ non-major routes, including Bowen, saw fares go down by 15 per cent and Bowen’s ridership has been rising steadily since 2014.
The runs reinstated in 2017 were the 7 a.m. from Horseshoe Bay and 7:30 a.m. from Snug Cove on Saturdays, and the 9 a.m. from Horseshoe Bay and 9:35 p.m. from Snug Cove on Sundays.
This leaves the 5:20 a.m. on Saturdays (there was no early Sunday run in 2014), the 6:50 a.m. from Horseshoe Bay and 7:30 a.m. from Snug Cove on Sundays, and the 8 p.m. from Horseshoe Bay and 8:30 p.m. from Snug Cove on Sundays to be reinstated.
As for when we might see the increased service, the press release from the provincial government said that the government is hoping to have the majority of the services restored in the spring.
“The exact timing will depend on how fast BC Ferries can operationalize these changes,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Correction: Sailings lost 2014 included the 6:50 a.m. from Horseshoe Bay and 7:30 a.m. from Snug Cove on Sundays.