BC Ferries adds 110 sailings in anticipation of busy long weekend

BC Ferries is planning to add 110 extra sailings to its schedule over what is expected to be a busy May long weekend.

The ferry service said Monday it would provide the additional sailings between Metro Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island from Thursday, May 19, to Tuesday, May 24.

BC Ferries said its recent hiring blitz, in which it took on approximately 500 new employees, will allow the company to accommodate the additional holiday traffic.

The extra trips include 74 sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, including 6 a.m. departures on May 19-21 and 24.

The Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay route will see 25 extra sailings over the long weekend, while the Horseshoe Bay to Langdale route will have 11 extra sailings.

"The highest volumes of travellers are generally seen leaving Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals Thursday and Friday afternoon, as well as Saturday morning," said BC Ferries in a statement Monday.

"Historically, Monday afternoon is the most popular time for people to return from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast."

Travellers are advised to take public transit to the ferry terminal, if possible, as parking spots are expected to fill up quickly. Travellers are also advised to book tickets in advance and arrive 45 to 60 minutes before their scheduled departure.

BC Ferries estimates it will transport 300,000 passengers and 100,000 vehicles between Thursday and Monday. The company says it expects to serve more than 20,000 hamburgers, 5,000 bowls of ice cream and 21,000 cups of coffee over the same period.