Closed vehicle decks prohibited for BC Ferries passengers

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VICTORIA – BC Ferries passengers hoping to stay in their cars aboard a boat will no longer be allowed to stay on the decks of closed vehicles as of Wednesday, September 30. The controversial directive comes from Transport Canada, which initially granted an exception to standard ferry travel regulations to allow passengers to stay in their vehicles to help with physical distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government is now canceling this measure due to security concerns. Normally, passengers are not allowed to stay in closed car decks as they are not designed to accommodate passengers and could present a safety hazard in the event of fire or other emergency on board.

Transport Canada and BC Ferries say new safety measures are in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19, including increased cleaning, mandatory face mask policies and increased seating in some areas, such as in sections Pacific Buffet ferries.

However, not everyone agrees with Transport Canada’s decision to cancel the ability of passengers to stay in their vehicles in closed car decks, especially as the daily number of COVID-19 increases. in British Columbia.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan said on Tuesday he tried to fight the policy change but was rejected by the federal government.

“I raised this issue forcefully with the federal government,” Horgan told reporters Tuesday.

“I spoke with the Minister of Finance, I spoke with the Minister of Intergovernmental Relations and I was assured that they would do everything in their power to convince Transport Canada that during a global pandemic, it would not be Now was not the time to channel people out of the garage. on the main deck (of a BC Ferries ship), ”he said.

“I had the agreement of these two ministers, but unfortunately Transport Canada did not agree.

Horgan said he understands the decision will frustrate many British Columbians, but any regulatory change is now out of his hands.

“I made my point, the federal government ultimately disagreed with me.

BC Ferries passengers will no longer be allowed to stay in their cars in closed vehicle decks on the following routes:

  • Tsawwassen – Baie de Swartz

  • Tsawwassen – Duke Point

  • Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay

  • Powell River – Comox

  • Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands

Passengers are still allowed to stay in their car on the upper or open decks.

“BC Ferries must comply with this Transport Canada regulation and the company supports the regulation and its intent,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

“Closed car decks are spaces that pose an inherent risk to the traveling public.”

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