Co-passengering and the gendering of a mobile ferry space

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - ferry, ridership - commuting


Co-passengering, Commuting, Gender, Ferries, Canada


This paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork with residents of ferry-reliant Bell Island, located in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It develops the concept of co-passengering to explore the strong mutual assistance relationships among long-term work commuters in this context who daily travel on multi-modal trips involving a five-kilometre ferry ride as well as travel by road at either end of the ferry. This paper highlights how mobile commuting spaces such as ferries can become gendered in specific ways as a result of formal design features and routinized practices that develop among passengers, including intense sociality over the long-term that involves regular ‘seating partners’ and activities such as card playing and ongoing conversations. In this context, co-passengering relationships mark a key element of commuting to work for Bell Islanders that has remained similar since the late 1960s.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Journal of Transport Geography home Page: