Chi-Cheemaun extends 2020 schedule to meet increased demand

The Chi-Cheemaun ferry.

OWEN SOUND – There has been a change in the schedule of the Chi-Cheemaun for the 2020 sailing season. As well, the Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) has now set fees for those who park overnight in the ferry parking lot in South Baymouth, beginning in the summer. 

The Chi-Cheemaun sailing schedule will begin in the spring on May 1 and run until June 25 this year (a week longer in the spring compared to last year). The summer season will run from June 26 to September 13 (a week longer than 2019), and the fall season will run from September 14 to October 18. 

“The total length of the season is the same in terms of sailings,” said Susan Schrempf, president and CEO of the OSTC, in an interview with the Recorder late last week. “We are starting on the first Friday in May and end the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Because there was so much demand for reservations and after Labour Day, we will continue four trips the week after Labour Day to accommodate travellers.”

She said there is less demand earlier in the season, “and if you start the summer sailing season before school is out, there are trips that there is a lot less traffic on the ship. The changes we have made align with when school is done for the summer and people are still on holiday after Labour Day.”

Another change that will take place, one that Chi-Cheemaun patrons had been told about last year is ferry parking lot fees for overnight summer parking and multi-day parking at the Tobermory and South Baymouth terminal parking lots. These fees will begin at the start of the 2020 summer operating season. Ferry parking lots will be restricted to ferry users only. 

The 2020 parking fees at the Chi-Cheemaun ferry parking lot will be same day free, daily $10 per day and weekly (seven days) a fee of $60.

Ms. Schrempf explained, “we had posted the changes last year that they (parking fees) would go into effect this year for the summer season. Parking will remain free in the spring and fall,” however, “things are not like they were in the 1970s when we didn’t have 100 percent reservations on the sailings in the summer. And there are now a lot more day trippers who need parking for one day.”