VICTORIA -- BC Ferries' Skeena Queen — the 92-car ferry serving the Swartz Bay to Salt Spring Island route — is being taken out of service for a roughly five-month mid-life upgrade.

BC Ferries is replacing the vessel with the 112-car-capacity Queen of Cumberland, but the space for additional vehicles doesn't necessarily mean shorter lines for travellers on the busy route.

That's because the Queen of Cumberland uses two ramps to lift the extra cars onto upper levels and the process is slower, so only one ramp will be used most of the time, reducing capacity to about 94 vehicles.

The loading process is also slightly different, with commercial and regular-vehicle traffic kept separated, but the ferry service says additional staff and signage on Salt Spring will help with the transition until the Skeena Queen's expected return in mid-March.