Angry travelers stuck in Horseshoe Bay frustrations after ferry breaks down for second day in a row

Travelers were stuck for hours in queues at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in West Vancouver after ferries broke down for the second day in a row.

Angry ferry travelers stuck for hours in queues at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal after ferries broke down for the second day in a row say the ferry company needs to do a better job of informing customers of this that is happening.

They said there should also be a system in place to prevent people having to sit in queues outside the terminal without access to water or toilets for hours on end.

Traffic began to slow at the West Vancouver terminal after the Queen of Surrey ferry to the Sunshine Coast broke down on Wednesday afternoon. The mechanical failure was the third on this route in two days. On Tuesday, a different mechanical problem on the same ship caused cancellations and delays to several sailings. A second ferry brought in as backup also had a mechanical problem which had to be repaired and caused more delays.

Lisa Miller-Stiver was among customers who had to wait several hours in queues outside the Horseshoe Bay terminal on Wednesday afternoon.

She described the situation at the ferry terminal as “chaotic”, adding that she had received little or no information from BC Ferries about what was going on, except to be directed to the website, which does not was not updated.

Traffic personnel were instead directing drivers with reservations to exit the main line and drive around the village of Horseshoe Bay to re-enter the queue at the Caulfeild Freeway exit in West Vancouver.

Miller-Stiver said she was told to repeat this process several times over several hours.

“I went around in circles,” she said. “It’s ridiculous. There is no one who communicates.

Miller-Stiver said she felt especially bad for people with medical conditions or families with young children who had been stuck in the line outside the terminal.

“There is no food, there is no water,” she said.

The young people directing the traffic were doing their best, but seemed to have little information either, she said.

She said instead of having cars lined up along the freeway outside Horseshoe Bay, BC Ferries should allow more cars to wait in the terminal – where people can at least access restrooms . “It’s inhumane,” she said of making cars wait on the freeway for hours. “It’s an ongoing problem.”

Sunshine Coast resident Kelsey Oxley was another traveler caught in the queues on Wednesday afternoon. Oxley said she was in Vancouver for a specialist appointment. “I don’t feel well and I would really like to go home,” she said. “There was absolutely no information.”

Oxley said she had a similar experience in February after her six-year-old was discharged from Lions Gate Hospital.

Oxley said Wednesday she’s even seen people climbing the freeway divider looking for a place to relieve themselves with no bathroom nearby.

Emma Judd was stuck in the same queue in West Vancouver with her grandparents on Wednesday afternoon. She said they were also ordered to do repeated loops through Horseshoe Bay and the Caulfield exit.

“There was no really clear information,” she said. “We felt the traffic people were just as confused as we were.”

Travelers stuck in queues returning from medical appointments or work also expressed their frustrations on social media.

The Queen of Surrey was finally repaired and returned to service around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Deborah Marshall, spokesperson for BC Ferries, said various mechanical issues plagued the vessel on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Tuesday, crews had to wait for a spare for one of the variable-pitch propellers to arrive and be installed, she said.

The replacement ship, the Queen of Coquitlam, also had a problem with its fuel pump on Tuesday, which had to be repaired, leading to more delays, Marshall said.

Another ferry from Horseshoe Bay — the 6:15 p.m. departure to Nanaimo — was also canceled Wednesday due to a crew shortage.

“We’ve exhausted all options to replace this person, so we had to cancel a round trip,” Marshall said.

“We certainly apologize to our customers for the inconvenience they have experienced over the past two days.”

Marshall added an additional ferry sailing with the Queen of Alberni had been added to the Langdale to Horseshoe Bay run at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday with an additional round trip from Langdale at 8:30 p.m.

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