BC Ferries pitches ‘Major Terminal Efficiency’ application to Commissioner

BC Ferries pitches 'Major Terminal Efficiency' application to Commissioner

BC Ferries has announced it wants to upgrade five major terminals and has submitted a ‘Major Terminal Efficiency’ (MTE) application to the BC Ferries Commissioner for approval.

The upgrades would completely overhaul the current ferry terminal experience by automating as many check-in processes as possible, such as:

  • Introducing license plate recognition devices that would streamline vehicle check-ins;
  • Weigh-in-motion devices that can quickly measure the size of vehicles, eliminating the current manual process of measuring;
  • Create new ticketing kiosks for foot passengers, and eliminate the need to ‘check-in’ for those that have reserved in advance.

These are just a few of the proposed suggestions that the company says will make for a more “frictionless” trip for future travellers.

BC Ferries says there are multiple reasons why the upgrades are necessary, such as a return to pre-pandemic levels of travellers and many systems that, in their current state, are outdated and pose a high risk of failure.

So far, the cost of the project has yet to be released. This has to do with the Request for Proposal process, as outlined in the Coastal Ferry Act.

“As this accountability measure precedes an open and competitive Request For Proposal process for the work outlined in the project application, BC Ferries is unable to release the total project cost to protect the competitive RFP process,” said Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries’ executive director of public affairs

“If the project application is approved, and once the competitive bidding process has closed and contracts awarded, BC Ferries will announce further information and timelines,” she added.

Following Wednesday’s announcement and proposal, the Commissioner now has two months to decide.

The company expects the project to take until 2027 to complete if approved, and will carry it out in four phases — periodically fine-tuning each new system as they’re rolled out.

The five major terminals that will fall under the MTE project are:

  • Duke Point
  • Tsawwassen
  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Departure Bay
  • Swartz Bay

The full scope of the project can be viewed on the BC Ferry Commission’s website.


Roger CollinsRoger Collins

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