BC Ferries cancelled 16 sailings between Swartz Bay and Tswwassen Sunday night. (Cynthia Johson/Twitter)

BC Ferries cancelled 163 sailings across multiple routes over the weekend

Two weeks into 2020 cancellations have passed the halfway mark of an average year

Believe it or not, Sunday was not the worst day for cancellations on BC Ferries’ busiest route between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen.

With the exception of the 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. sailings out of Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, BC Ferries cancelled all other sailings, a total of 16, on Sunday because of adverse weather — not quite a record though.

“The number of daily sailings varies by day of the week and time of year but in the past, we have had 20 weather-related sailing cancellations between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay,” said Chelsea Carlson, manager, communications, with BC Ferries.

The Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route is the busiest BC Ferries route. In 2018, 3.18 million passengers travelled from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, while 3.22 million travelled the other way.

RELATED: Vancouver Island dispatchers see rise in 911 calls due to snowfall

Overall, BC Ferries cancelled 163 sailings across multiple routes this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, said Carlson. That figure adds up to more than half of the 237 weather-related sailing cancellations across all routes.

Looking at the big picture, BC Ferries cancelled 498 sailings due to weather in the fiscal year of 2018 and 604 sailings due to weather in the fiscal year of 2019. “The average number of weather-related cancellations per year is 425 sailings across all routes,” she said.

In other words, two weeks into 2020, the number of cancellations so far has already passed the halfway mark of average cancellations per year, with more bad weather on the horizon.

RELATED: Snowstorm 2020 – Here’s what you need to know to get around Greater Victoria today

It is not clear how many people the cancellations affected. “There were thousands of customers with reservations affected by the cancellations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Carson. “We don’t have an exact number because some customers don’t make reservations and some may have chosen not to travel.”

Equally uncertain is the economic impact of the cancellations on both BC Ferries and the economy at large.

“We are not able to estimate this as we don’t know how many customers heard about the cancellations and decided not to travel with us,” she said.

RELATED: UPDATED: BC Ferries cancels all remaining Sunday sailings between Greater Victoria and Metro Vancouver

So what sort of lessons emerged out of this past weekend for the rest of the month?

“We do continue to work with Environment Canada and get the latest forecast, so we can help inform our customers if we are expecting any further cancellations,” said Carson.


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