New BC Ferries regulations banning passengers from staying in their cars took effect on Wednesday.

Starting on Oct. 11 people are no longer allowed to remain in their vehicle on contained lower decks during a sailing.

In December, the company announced that it was required to implement Transport Canada regulations over safety concerns.

Customers will still be permitted to remain in their vehicles on upper decks.

Passengers who have unique challenges or special needs can request to be placed on the upper deck at the ticket booth, the company said.

The access restriction will be lifted when passengers are instructed to return to their vehicles before docking.

The closed-deck ban will apply to 18 vessels, including those on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen-Duke Point and Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay routes.

Another major change is coming early next year.

Smoking will be banned on all vessels as of Jan. 22, 2018.