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Ferry reservations double-booked between Langdale, Horseshoe Bay

BC Ferries makes mistake in planning on the route, affecting May long weekend travellers
SAILING REVISIONS: Ferry customers who booked reservations for Langdale/Horseshoe Bay [above] sailings on the May long weekend may have their travel plans altered, as BC Ferries inadvertently allowed more reservations to be sold than were available.

There will be very few cancelled bookings on the Langdale to Horseshoe Bay ferry route over the May long weekend due to customers’ willingness to be rebooked, according to BC Ferries.

Following an announcement on May 3 that the company had double-booked reservations, BC Ferries executive director of public affairs Deborah Marshall said on May 4 that the customer care team members are currently reaching out to the remaining customers who haven’t yet rebooked to help them with their travel plans, and are working diligently to fix the mistake as quickly as possible. 

“In order to ensure this issue does not happen again, we are implementing more rigorous processes and putting even more checks and balances in place, which may include moving that control measure up to two months before we release the reservable spaces to the public,” said Marshall.

“We are sorry and understand the impact of our error on customers, and their weekend plans, so have refunded original payments and rebooked for free.”

As an additional gesture for the inconvenience, BC Ferries is also offering a standard vehicle and driver voucher for future travel.

“Once more, we thank them for their understanding,” added Marshall. 

On May 3, it was announced that some ferry travellers on the Langdale to Horseshoe Bay route would be facing alterations to their travel plans over the May long weekend because BC Ferries double-booked sailing reservations.

Marshall said the company made a mistake in planning for the May long weekend, as well as the first three weekends in June, and double-booked the number of available bookings.

“As a result, we’ve had to reduce the amount of booked space available on the sailings and we can no longer accommodate all the bookings at the original times,” said Marshall. “We apologize to our customers. We certainly understand the impact of the errors on our customers and their weekend plans.”

Marshall said if the revised sailing doesn’t work with customers’ travel plans, BC Ferries’ call centre agents will work with them to find an alternate sailing time.

“We recognize and acknowledge this was our issue, it was our mistake, and we know people have long weekend plans and we are having to adjust some of those sailings for them.”

Marshall said BC Ferries expects to be very busy at Horseshoe Bay and Langdale terminals over the long weekend.

Northern Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committee chair Kim Barton-Bridges said the error will be a major inconvenience for ferry customers that weekend.

“What people have to be prepared for is that it is going to have an impact on traffic outside the terminals, and the waits,” added Barton-Bridges. “Those people who will be impacted, who thought they had a reservation, are now being told they need to basically show and go. It’s going to be busy. People will definitely need to be prepared for waits.

“I’m always bracing for the worst. It always happens on a long weekend, or spring break, or something. It’s unfortunate, but I have to agree that BC Ferries is wearing it. It is their problem, but they have owned up to their mistake.”

Barton-Bridges said the ferry advisory committee did ask BC Ferries about the possibility of giving vouchers out to people who had reservations rather than having them go through the rigmarole of having to apply for them, to make it as easy as possible for the travellers.

She said the ferry advisory committee tries its best to advocate for travellers, but sometimes, things are beyond its control.

“It’s not going to be easy, but I think that if people understand earlier, rather than finding out the day of travel, or a few days before, they at least have time to incorporate this into their plans and maybe leave a little earlier, come back later, or just be well prepared,” said Barton-Bridges. “It will take the edge off if people have advance warning, so I do appreciate that.”

Barton-Bridges said there is heavy traffic flowing in both directions on a holiday weekend.

“This is a great place to be on a long weekend,” said Barton-Bridges. “It’s just that getting here and leaving could be a bit of a challenge.”