The Best and Worst of BC Ferries

Most people on B.C.’s coastal mainland and the plethora of islands are at least somewhat familiar with the trials and tribulations of traveling with BC Ferries. With summer approaching and prime ferry travel season beginning, we here at Her Campus decided to compile a list of the best and worst features of B.C.’s top (actually, only) large-scale ferry service. 

1. Best - Wandering the sun deck.

Nothing is quite as fun as battling the buffeting wind at the bow of the boat, holding out your jacket like wings and trying to catch the gales — as long as it’s not raining, that is. Remember to pay attention for the announcement heralding the ship’s horn, and cover your ears; that thing is loud.

2. Worst - They pretend they’re a cruise line.

As a wise man once said, “Dear BC Ferries, you are not a cruise ship line, you are a bus”. Sure, it’s nice to have amenities, but there’s no need for a private lounge that costs 12$ to even enter. B.C. residents have long bemoaned the way BC Ferries keeps spending money on unnecessary upgrades to make themselves more attractive as a tourist experience, but all we really want is some measure of affordability. 

3. Best - Horseshoe Bay terminal is cute and inviting.

If you arrive at the terminal with time to spare, it’s always worth it to take a leisurely stroll around idyllic Horseshoe Bay. With a lovely view of the marina, surrounded by verdant mountains, and featuring many spots to grab a drink, a meal, or ice cream, this little town is a great spot to peace out from the stress of travel and take some time to relax.

4. Worst - Tsawassen terminal looks like a post-apocalyptic evacuation centre.

If Horseshoe Bay is like a bright and playful Munchkinland, then the Tsawassen terminal is like something out of Resident Evil. Stark, barren, industrial, and ominous, this is one terminal you do not want to be stuck at. Driving out along the thin strip of road flanked by grey malevolent ocean waves feels like nothing short of approaching your own impending doom. Once you reach the terminal there’s no comforting collection of coffee shops, just a soulless processing station. From the moment you arrive, your instincts clamour for you to just get out!

5. Best - It’s not a bridge.

This is a contentious issue, but a bridge from the Mainland to Vancouver Island is not the most attractive option to many residents. Firstly, us islanders value our privacy and (relative) autonomy — people already confuse us with Vancouver enough, we don’t want to become yet another far-flung borough. Also, did anyone watch the Bojack Horseman episode with the bridge to Hawai’i? Yeah, we don’t want that.

6. Worst - It has an uncontested monopoly.

The worst thing about BC Ferries is that they have no competition. They are free to set whatever prices, make whatever “upgrades”, in short do whatever they want, and what choice do us BC locals have? Well, we could take Harbour Air, but who are we kidding? We’re going to swallow our pride, pay the fare, grab a Starbucks at the terminal, and take the silly ferry. 




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