Moving Ahead Together on the Sunshine Coast

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A ferry and a sailboat on the ocean with seagulls flying in the background.

We know this has been a challenging time for Sunshine Coast residents as we have adjusted service and operational procedures to meet fluctuating traffic levels and new regulations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know our customers have been affected by:

  • Sailing waits at popular times
  • Lack of available reservations
  • Reservation trading / selling / sharing
  • Concerns around travel certainty for residents
  • Concerns around medical travel needs
  • Concerns around capacity

In addition to service and operational adjustments, our current financial reality has meant we've prioritized core ferry service to communities, and that we have paused our capital projects until we have a better idea of how the recently announced Safe Restart funding will be allocated. As we move ahead, these are the kinds of constraints and uncertainties that we will need to confront together.

Our goal through this engagement is to develop a practical list of solutions we can implement ourselves in the near term with the assets we currently have. We operate under contract with the Government of BC, which means not all decisions are ours to make alone. Because our goal is the creation of a near-term action plan, we will be focusing conversations on topics and solutions that are within BC Ferries' control. This includes things like operational changes, changes to our reservation policies and processes, improving the way we communicate with our customers, etc.

These are some of the most challenging times we've faced in our communities, our homes, and our organizations. We know it hasn't been easy, and we firmly believe that the best way ahead is together. We look forward to working with you.


We know this has been a challenging time for Sunshine Coast residents as we have adjusted service and operational procedures to meet fluctuating traffic levels and new regulations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know our customers have been affected by:

  • Sailing waits at popular times
  • Lack of available reservations
  • Reservation trading / selling / sharing
  • Concerns around travel certainty for residents
  • Concerns around medical travel needs
  • Concerns around capacity

In addition to service and operational adjustments, our current financial reality has meant we've prioritized core ferry service to communities, and that we have paused our capital projects until we have a better idea of how the recently announced Safe Restart funding will be allocated. As we move ahead, these are the kinds of constraints and uncertainties that we will need to confront together.

Our goal through this engagement is to develop a practical list of solutions we can implement ourselves in the near term with the assets we currently have. We operate under contract with the Government of BC, which means not all decisions are ours to make alone. Because our goal is the creation of a near-term action plan, we will be focusing conversations on topics and solutions that are within BC Ferries' control. This includes things like operational changes, changes to our reservation policies and processes, improving the way we communicate with our customers, etc.

These are some of the most challenging times we've faced in our communities, our homes, and our organizations. We know it hasn't been easy, and we firmly believe that the best way ahead is together. We look forward to working with you.


  • Project Update - April 16, 2021

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    16 Apr 2021

    Exploring a Travel Certainty Trial for This Summer


    Throughout the Moving Ahead Together on the Sunshine Coast project we heard about the need to reduce the stress and anxiety of ferry travel to and from the Sunshine Coast, especially in the peak season. Participants wanted solutions that would help them plan ahead, and make their travel easier once en route. The uncertainty around travel times, long waits at congested terminals, and lack of available reservations were all noted as concerns to be addressed. In response, we are exploring a trial program to make travel on the Sunshine Coast more comfortable this summer.


    We are exploring a trial program that would run over the peak summer season and would offer:

    • 95% of vehicle space available to reserve
    • Free reservations
    • Customers reserve up to 45 minutes in advance of a sailing
    • Lower fares for travel reserved in advance, with deeper discounts for travel at less busy times
    • Standard fare for show-and-go travel
    • Penalty fees for no-shows
    • Space protected for specific priority emergency services and Medical Assured Loading


    With this trial we are hoping to offer customers more certainty in their travel plans, reduced wait times, less congestion at the terminal, and a more comfortable travel experience overall.


    We recognize the trial represents a change to how people travel to and from the Sunshine Coast today, so before we decide to move ahead, we are asking the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) for their endorsement.


    Should the trial be endorsed and move forward, we would collect feedback from customers and communities, and monitor and regularly report on the results of the changes. At the end of the trial, we would use customer feedback to assess whether the approach achieved the intended benefits.


    More details on the trial will be available in late April should we receive endorsement from the SCRD. In the meantime, you can read more about proposed trial concept here.

  • Project Update - February 1, 2021

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    01 Feb 2021

    Phase II Engagement Complete!

    We recently completed the second phase of engagement for the Moving Ahead Together on the Sunshine Coast project. In this phase we proposed 11 ideas that were collaboratively developed by the Moving Ahead Together Project Working Group and BC Ferries. We asked the community to tell us which ideas they would like us to develop further. The ideas were broken into four topic areas:

    1. Travel Certainty - Ways to reduce stress and anxiety for those who depend on ferry service
    2. Medical Travel - Ways to reduce stress and anxiety for those travelling with medical needs
    3. Communications - Ways to enhance information that can make planning and travelling easier
    4. Demand Management - Ways to enhance the use of available capacity through the day


    Learn more about the ideas proposed and the results of engagement in the engagement results infographic and the full engagement summary report.


    What We Heard

    Community feedback indicated that all 11 ideas proposed were worth moving forward for further development. The community also noted several key considerations to keep in mind while moving forward with idea development, including:

    • Ensuring fairness and equity – ensuring that changes, especially changes to booking processes, carefully consider impacts on all travellers, e.g. commuters, medical travellers, Upper and Lower Sunshine Coast residents, those for whom the additional cost of making a booking is a barrier to travel etc.
    • Easing travel for those taking more than one ferry – taking an end-to-end view of the travel experience for those who must take more than one ferry, e.g. Upper Sunshine Coast to Lower Mainland travel
    • Prioritizing and supporting medical travel – ensuring ease and comfort throughout the travel experience from booking through to arrival for those with medical needs
    • Enhancing access to information – making key information easy to find, and coordinating with community organizations to enhance distribution and understanding of information


    Our Next Steps

    Using the feedback we received, we now begin the work of turning the ideas proposed in Phase II into tangible solutions. This process will require engagement from internal BC Ferries teams and the community. These efforts will follow a three-step process:

    1. Internal workshops with BC Ferries staff (January – February) – BC Ferries staff from a variety of departments will come together to brainstorm tangible solutions for each of the ideas proposed, using the feedback received through engagement as the starting point for their discussions.
    2. Workshops with key stakeholders (February – March) – We will bring the solutions developed through internal workshops to key stakeholders including members of the Project Working Group who wish to remain involved, Ferry Advisory Committee members, and other stakeholders as appropriate.
    3. Community feedback (March – April) – Where appropriate, we’ll bring suggested solutions to the community for feedback prior to implementation.


    We will continue to keep the community updated as we undertake our next steps. We will be coming back with additional communications and engagement over the coming months as we move from proposed ideas through to the development and implementation of tangible solutions.

    Learn more about our next steps in the engagement next steps report.

  • Project Update - January 11, 2021

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    11 Jan 2021

    Report on Engagement Results Underway

    We are currently working on a comprehensive report detailing the results of the Moving Ahead Together engagement efforts, and outlining our next steps. We will be posting the report to this page shortly, please stay tuned.

    Thank you to the Project Working Group!

    The Moving Ahead Together Project Working Group has formally closed. We would like to thank the 19 members of the group who each committed over 15 hours of time in helping us identify ways to improve ferry travel on the Sunshine Coast in the near term. We will continue to engage with these members, and with the wider community as we move ahead with refining solutions and defining implementation plans and timelines.

    Please stay tuned to this page for engagement results and additional information regarding our next steps.

  • Project Update - November 18, 2020

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    18 Nov 2020

    We’ve launched the second phase of community engagement!

    Share your thoughts here. Online engagement runs now until Wednesday, December 9th.


    The potential solutions we’re seeking feedback on in this phase are focused on things that can be done in the near term to improve ferry travel on the Sunshine Coast with the assets currently available. We have stayed focused on actions we can take in a timely manner, that require minimal capital investment, and that are within BC Ferries’ control.


    All of the potential solutions being proposed are in their infancy and will require additional discussion to understand how they would look in practice. Given this, what we want to know from the community in is: which solutions would the community like to see developed further?


    We want to understand where the community sees the most potential so we can focus our time and energy discussing these highest priority items as we move ahead. We’re seeking community input on potential solutions that fall under four key topic areas:

    1. Travel Certainty – potential solutions to reduce stress and anxiety for those using our ferry service
    2. Medical Travel – potential solutions to reduce stress and anxiety for those travelling for medical reasons
    3. Communications – potential solutions to enhance information that can make planning and travelling easier
    4. Demand Management – potential solutions to enhance the use of available capacity


    Within the online engagement we have provided information to help frame each topic area and each potential solution we're seeking input on, making this engagement a little longer than some of our others. Each section is optional and you can skip ahead at any point.


    Opportunity to Participate in Virtual Community Meeting

    We’re holding a virtual meeting to provide community members with an opportunity to learn more about the list of potential near-term solutions being proposed, and to ask questions.


    Virtual Community Meeting
    Wednesday, November 25
    6 – 8pm

    RSVP to receive the meeting link.


    Please note, we will host a maximum of 50 people per meeting to ensure meaningful dialogue can take place. We will add meeting dates and times based on interest.


    Check out our new infographic

    Through the first phase of engagement, we asked the community about topics they'd like to know more about. The top three areas participants indicated they wanted to learn more about were:


    1. How reservation space is determined for the Sunshine Coast
    2. Traffic and data trends for the Sunshine Coast
    3. How Medical Assured Loading and the Travel Assistance Program work


    See our new infographic that provides more information on these priority community topics.

  • Project Update - November 12, 2020

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    12 Nov 2020

    Next Phase of Virtual Engagement Launches Wednesday, November 18


    The Project Working Group has been busy over the last two months reviewing community input and working with members of the BC Ferries team to develop a list of potential near-term solutions that address the feedback provided by the community. On November 9, we shared a short list of potential solutions with our Project Sounding Board, a group of community members who expressed interest in the project through the Project Working Group application process. The Sounding Board provided initial feedback on the solutions and we are now ready to share the list with the wider community.


    The next phase of engagement will launch Wednesday, November 18. Stay tuned to this page.



    Opportunity to Participate in Virtual Community Meeting


    We’re holding a virtual meeting to provide community members with an opportunity to learn more about the list of potential near-term solutions being proposed, and to ask questions.


    Virtual Community Meeting

    Wednesday, November 25

    6 – 8pm


    RSVP to receive the meeting link.


    Please note, we will host a maximum of 50 people per meeting to ensure meaningful dialogue can take place. We will add meeting dates and times based on interest.



    What to Expect in the Next Phase of Engagement


    The potential solutions we’re getting ready to share with the community are focused on things that can be done in the near term to improve ferry travel on the Sunshine Coast with the assets currently available. We have stayed focused on actions we can take in a timely manner, that require minimal capital investment, and that are within BC Ferries’ control.


    All of the potential solutions being proposed are in their infancy and will require additional discussion to understand how they would look in practice. Given this, what we want to know from the community in this next round of engagement is: which solutions would the community like to see developed further?


    We want to understand where the community sees the most potential so we can focus our time and energy discussing these highest priority items as we move ahead. We’ll be seeking community input on potential solutions that fall under four key topic areas:


    1. Travel Certainty – potential solutions to reduce stress and anxiety for those using our ferry service
    2. Medical Travel – potential solutions to reduce stress and anxiety for those travelling for medical reasons
    3. Communications – potential solutions to enhance information that can make planning and travelling easier
    4. Demand Management – potential solutions to enhance the use of available capacity


    We look forward to hearing from you in this next phase!




  • Project Update - October 5, 2020

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    05 Oct 2020

    Project Working Group Composition

    Together with the FAC Chairs for the Sunshine Coast and Gambier-Keats, we chose 15 members of the Upper and Lower Sunshine Coast communities, and four employees to participate in the Project Working Group. We took care to choose a representative group of members with a wide-range of perspectives and experience, including:

    • Residents (full and part-time)
    • Medical travellers
    • Commercial trucking & hauling
    • Tourism
    • Local businesses and service providers
    • Local economic development
    • Schools and sports teams
    • Parents
    • Transit users
    • Connecting travellers
    • Upper and Lower Sunshine Coast Ferry Advisory Committees
    • Gambier-Keats Ferry Advisory Committee
    • Terminal operations at Langdale and Horseshoe Bay
    • Deck operations on the Queen of Surrey
    • Catering operations on the Queen of Surrey


    We welcome our 19 new members and thank them for their enthusiasm and their willingness to commit their time to this process. We are excited to work with them and to share their progress.


    Survey Results Now Available

    We heard from almost 1,500 people over our three week online engagement period. People provided feedback on the challenges they felt were most pressing and on the near-term improvements to service they would like us to consider.

    The community indicated six priority areas that the Project Working Group will now focus on as they develop potential ways to improve service in the near-term with the assets BC Ferries currently has:

    1. Travel certainty for residents
    2. Capacity/frequency of service
    3. Travel certainty through reservations
    4. Terminal infrastructure and operational improvements
    5. Travel certainty for connecting travellers
    6. Travel certainty for medical travellers


    You can view the full results in this report: Considerations for Change - Online Engagement Results (Sept 2020)

    The Project Working Group will be seeking feedback from the community on a short list of potential solutions focused on these six areas in early November. Please stay tuned to this page for more information.


    Thank you Project Working Group Applicants!

    We received over 80 applications for membership on the Project Working Group. The choice was difficult and we thank all those who put their name forward. Everyone who applied for membership to the Group will be invited to participate in a Project Sounding Board. The Sounding Board will be called together to review the short-list of potential solutions and improvements developed by the Project Working Group. The Sounding Board will act as the first step in wider-community engagement on short-listed solutions.


    If you applied to the Project Working Group and have not received an email from us by Friday, October 9 please reach out to us at engagement@bcferries.com.


    Project Working Group Gets to Work

    The Moving Ahead Together Project Working Group completed their first two workshops on September 30 and October 1, 2020. Members reviewed community feedback received through online engagement, and began the process of brainstorming potential solutions to improve ferry service to the Sunshine Coast in the near term. The Group will meet again through October to evaluate the list of potential solutions and arrive at a short-list of solutions that they will seek community feedback on in early November.


  • Project Update - September 14, 2020

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    14 Sep 2020

    A big thank you to everyone who participated in the first round of engagement for the Moving Ahead Together on the Sunshine Coast project!

    We heard from nearly 1,500 people who took time to share their thoughts with us through our online engagement survey. We also received 81 applications from people interested in being part of our Moving Ahead Together Project Working Group.

    Our job now is to analyze the results of the engagement survey and work with our FAC Chairs for the South and North Sunshine Coast, and Gambier-Keats to review the Project Working Group applications.

    We'll publish preliminary survey results to this page in the coming days, and we'll be inviting successful applicants to the Project Working group by September 23. Please stay tuned here for regular project updates and information.