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Editorial: BC Ferries unleashes plans for larger pet areas on upper decks

BC Ferries' move to open larger outdoor pet areas on vessels creates a more humane and relaxing journey for pet owners and their animals.

Often, the finer details can make a big difference in life. 

Many of us in Squamish are pet—especially dog—parents; many also travel to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast (heck, sometimes it seems like half of us have or will be moving to one of these locales!). 

Thus, the long-overdue move by BC Ferries to expand where pets can roam on some ferries is a pawsitively positive one. 

Last week, BC Ferries barked (get it!) that it was opening up larger outdoor pet areas on the upper decks of vessels travelling on the Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay to Langdale routes. 

This brings to six the vessels that have expanded pet areas.

The ferry parks (for lack of a better term) are about the size of a new Squamish condo and have water, dog bags and seating areas. 

This is much more humane for our furry family members and less stressful for pet moms and dads. 

Anyone who has tried to keep a nervous dog or cat quiet and comfortable while stuck below deck in a vehicle or who has amused them in the former lower tiny pet areas knows this is a losing proposition for all involved. 

There's also the stress pets endure being below deck when car alarm after car alarm screams out a tuneless song.

Letting pets climb to the outer decks, especially on a beautiful summer day, can only make the voyage nicer for everyone. 

Not to mention taking a slight sting out of the approximately $100 one-way ticket price to sail (with a vehicle). 

Clearly, the company knows this is smart business. 

The news release states that the number of passengers travelling on ferries with pets nearly doubled between 2018 and 2023, from 5.5% to 9.9%.

In its customer polling, BC Ferries also found that an average of 92.5% of respondents favoured expanding the pet areas to the outer decks.

No doubt, some fur parents have avoided taking their pooch on board, given the former restraints. 

“Our customers have told us that their pets need a better way to travel and we’ve taken steps to make that a reality. This is great news for customers preparing to travel with pets in the busy spring and summer seasons,” said Melanie Lucia, vice president of customer experience at BC Ferries, in a news release. 

The release states that the company is planning on further expanding its pet-friendly areas. 

But to ensure that happens, let’s hope dog owners keep Fido and Fifi in check, on a leash, and scoop the poop—unlike some of the behaviour on Squamish streets and trails of late.


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