BC Ferries launches mobile app to check schedules, book sailings

BC Ferries launches mobile app to check schedules, book sailings
Screenshot: YouTube/BC Ferries
The BC Ferries app allows users to check schedules, book sailings and more. It's available now on the Apple and Google Play stores.

There’s an app for that.

The popular phrase trademarked by Apple now applies to BC Ferries as the company launches its first-ever mobile app, where users can check schedules and current conditions, as well as book sailings and manage trips. 

BC Ferries updated its website sometime this weekend to introduce customers to its new app. The company calls it the “ultimate travel resource” for planning and booking ferry travel and says it’s designed with convenience and personalization in mind.

“The app is about giving customers the tools needed to enhance their trip-planning experience through their mobile device,” said Janet Carson, vice president of marketing and customer experience. “The BC Ferries app is the latest enhancement to our online services following the rollout of the new website in 2020 and a new Saver fare structure in 2021.”

Its release, however, comes later than expected. BC Ferries had previously never produced an app, and for years had told passengers that it was working on one to provide a user-friendly way to check sailing times and book tickets.

Talks of a BC Ferries app arose in February 2018, when then-CEO Mark Collins told the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce that one was in the works. At the time, he said it could be ready as early as fall. The company tweaked its website, but the app never came to fruition.

Flash-forward to August 2022, spokesperson Deborah Marshall told CHEK News that the app was still happening. Marshall was mum on the details, but BC Ferries’ website now highlights the app’s features, including how users can get started and frequently asked questions. It notes users must first create an account on BCFerries.com to access the app.

But there is some competition in the app store. A pre-existing app, BC Ferry Times, already allows passengers to see sailing times and capacity levels on various routes. A $6.99 one-time upgrade fee lets users change theme colours, set a favourite route, and more.

When released, it looked to fill a technological void, creator Samuel Pratt told CHEK News in August 2022. “It’ll never be a million-dollar app, but I feel like it’s something that people should be able to use,” he added.

So far, BC Ferries’ app has received positive reviews, including from one Apple user who on Friday said they were “happy to have a BC Ferries app (they) can trust.”

The app is available now on the Apple and Google Play stores.

-With files from CHEK News

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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