Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Changes coming for those travelling on BC Ferries

The Northern Expedition (above) along with the Northern Adventure
will both see changes in passenger regulations over the next six months

A pair of new rules for travellers set to go into effect later this fall will bring some changes for passengers on the fleet of BC Ferries that transit the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

Yesterday, the ferry corporation announced that effective October 11th they will be harmonizing their safety practices with other Canadian Ferry operators, enforcing Transport Canada regulations to prohibit passengers from remaining in their vehicles on closed decks of a vessel that is underway.

The Ferry corporation had been working around those regulations since 2007 by maintaining a continuous car deck patrol, however a recent re-examination of that process has brought BC Ferries to the decision to change their approach to safety and enforce the prohibition.

The change will affect those that are on the lower vehicle decks on both the Northern Expedition and Northern Adventure, as well the prohibition will be in effect on the new vessel set to serve the Port Hardy - Bella Coola run.

Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries Vice President of Fleet Operations outlined the main consideration related to the change.

“The regulations relate to safety, and the safety of our passengers and employees is a core value for BC Ferries, ...  Last year we carried 21 million passengers safely to their destinations by keeping safety top-of-mind in every operational decision we made.”

The introduction of the car deck changes will see BC Ferries staff adopt  soft approach to enforcement on the prohibition, with an information campaign to come leading up to the October implementation date.

More on background on the change can be found here.

Starting in January Smoking will be banned aboard BC Ferry vessels and
at terminal locations including the Prince Rupert terminal

The other change to regulations on board BC Ferries will have an impact on those who smoke, with the Ferry Service putting in place a ban on smoking on its vessels and terminal locations set to go into effect on January 22, 2018.

The new policy will apply to tobacco, marijuana and e-cigarettes and is expected to reduce the number of complaints that BC Ferries receives related to second-hand smoke.

The decision to go to the smoke free environment comes as the Ferry Corporation adjusts to new Provincial regulations requiring No Smoking Buffer Zones around doorways, intakes or open windows at public locations or workplaces.

The introduction of that change comes as part of National Non-Smoking Week which takes place from January 21 to 28.

Mark Collins, President and CEO of BC Ferries outlined the background to the policy change:

“BC Ferries made the decision to provide a smoke-free environment for the travelling public and our employees on board our ships and at our terminals,  ... This new policy supports the health and wellness of our customers and employees, as it helps control their exposure to second-hand smoke. We continue to focus on improving our customers’ experience, and providing the safest working environment for our crews.”

As with the change to safety regulations, BC Ferries will launch an expansive information campaign leading up to the implementation of the new regulations.

More on that change can be reviewed here

For further background on Ferry transportation on the North Coast, Haida Gwaii and north to Alaska see our archive page here.

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