BC Ferries is reporting a dramatic drop in passengers over the Easter long weekend.

Spokesperson Deborah Marshall said that from Thursday to Sunday, traffic was down significantly compared to the same time last year.

“On our major routes, for example, when we’re looking at passengers, we were down about 92 percent and vehicles, we were down about 82 percent, so definitely people got the message (that) this is not a time for leisure travel,” Marshall said.

On the major routes alone, about 14,600 passengers sailed on BC Ferries vessels over the weekend.

It was a different story last Easter weekend when BC Ferries ships carried roughly 173,000 people along their major routes. 

It was a similar case with smaller routes: In terms of passengers, Langdale on the Sunshine Coast saw an 82 percent drop, Southern Gulf Island routes were down 86 percent and other minor routes fell 79 percent last weekend. 

Marshall pointed out that BC Ferries usually only reports on the amount of deck space available for vehicles, and not on how many passengers are on board.

“But right now, Transport Canada has put in new regulations that our passenger counts have to be only 50 percent of the vessel-carrying capacity for passengers,” Marshall said. “We’ve put all those in place and we’ve seen a significant drop in the number of passengers travelling with us, so we are abiding by the Transport Canada regulations.”

Marshall said people are getting the message of staying home and avoiding non-essential travel to help curb the spread of COVID-19.