BC Ferries has received the green light to order four more hybrid-electric vessels, but it’s putting the brakes on its plan to modernize its terminals.
Earlier this year, BC Ferries had a multi-million dollar plan to bring its terminals into the modern age.
The “Major Terminal Efficiency Project” called for a paperless experience at terminals, meaning tickets would be on your phone, and there would be automated scanners at the gate for foot passengers to speed up the walk-on process.
Meanwhile, drivers would go to a pre-gate stop where a camera would scan your vehicle’s licence plate, matching it up to your reservation and pointing out your lane in fewer than 10 seconds – cutting down on massive lines.
The plan was pitched in the spring, but now the corporation is withdrawing its application to the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner, saying it needs more time to figure out the complexities of how it would pull all this off.
“We absolutely have a plan to modernize the terminals. What we need to do is make sure we understand the technology and specifically understand how it’s going to help improve the business,” said BC Ferries CEO Nicolas Jimenez on Tuesday.
“We did a discovery phase with the vendor of that technology and we realized in that process that we needed a little bit more time to be clear about our needs so we could line up their technology with our needs,” he said.
Currently, BC Ferries is managing its burgeoning digital infrastructure, with its website and app crashing several times this year.
BC Ferries had hoped modernizing terminals would bring it in line with airlines, ride-hailing companies and other modern transportation providers where you can scan QR codes and use your phones to be efficient.