The Q to Q ferry was a hit among Queensborough residents during Wednesday’s extreme weather event.
Laura Ranalletta of the Queensborough Residents’ Association said the Jan. 15 run of the Q to Q was a resounding success.
“Particularly for some essential service workers, it was the only way to safely get to work,” she told the Record via Twitter. “In addition to regular commuters, the ferry was A+ to families who couldn't travel safely by car or bus to get provisions.”
Cory Herndon agrees.
“Snow and ice? Bah. Wind and cold? They didn't shirk. And the crew, as always, was second to none,” he said in a Twitter message to the Record. “Really, the #QtoQ is the best part of my daily commute whatever the weather.”
One Queensborough resident had planned to take the ferry, but those plans were scuttled – but not because of the Q to Q.
“I was planning to take it for a hair appointment but wouldn’t you know it my hair appointment was cancelled due to (my) stylist not making in. Too bad she doesn’t live in Queensborough!” Jocelyne Shigehiro said in an email to the Record. “Watched the little ferry battle through the snow and ice all day. Kudos to the operators!”
Mike Shannon, owner of Bowen Land and Sea Taxi, said the crew reported it was quite a “memorable” day for the crew.
“It was the best way to get out of Queensborough, so we saw lots of new faces,” he said. “The numbers weren’t massive, but we saw people who had never used it before. There were lots of people who were surprised at how easy it was to use. Some people didn’t even know it existed until someone mentioned it, even though it’s been there a while.”
Feedback from folks who tried the ferry for the first time indicated the Q to Q may have some new customers.
“For people who take their cars across the bridge it is getting worse and worse and worse,” he said. “Yesterday was a nudge maybe to try it out.”
During the 7 to 8:30 a.m. rush hour on Jan. 15, 61 commuters took the ferry across the water.
“That is about normal. However, about three-quarters of those were new faces. That was good,” Shannon said. “Throughout the day it was nonstop – trips to Safeway and Donald’s (now City Avenue Market) for supplies in case the power went out.”
According to Shannon, the icy waters posed few challenges for the crew.
“We dealt with it last year as well. We just take our time and go slow,” he said. “After last season there was no paint left on the bottom of my boat – it basically ground it all off. It is just like sandpaper. The ice floats and the propeller is deeper down. We just push our way through it.”
B.C. Ferries has had to cancel sailings during high winds in recent weeks, but that hasn’t been the case with the Q to Q.
“We have had zero days down this year. The year before, when the White Rock pier went out, we ran all but two hours that day. There was nobody coming out, for one, and it was bouncing so much at the dock that it wasn’t safe to board,” Shannon said. “We have never had a day down since we have started.”
The Q to Q ferry travels daily between Westminster Quay (at Inn at the Quay) to the Port Royal public dock in Queensborough. The ferry’s schedule is found at www.newwestcity.ca/qtoqferry.