Amid a tumultuous summer for BC Ferries and days away from the B.C. Day long weekend, the corporation’s CEO emerged to reassure the travelling public it’s back on calmer waters.
“People need to have faith in that the ferry system is going to work for them. Because it’s integral to the social and economic underpinnings of the province,” Nicolas Jimenez told reporters at a rare news conference.
BC Ferries’ difficulties peaked with the story of Langford seniors.
Ron and Colleen Gunter showed up at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal on July 25 but wound up sleeping in their car because all sailings were sold out that day and the next.
“Let me assure you, we were not the only ones. We talked to numerous people in the parking lot who were turned away,” Gunter told CHEK News.
Jimenez vows things will be better this B.C. Day long weekend.
“We plan for every vessel to be in service running at capacity. Each day this B.C. Day long weekend, almost 1,800 team members are going to be on board our ships and in our terminals, helping our customers get to their destinations,” Jimenez said.
Inside BC Ferries’ Security and Operations Centre, reassurances again that any contingency will be handled quickly from Jason Boyd, the centre’s director of operations.
“We’re prepared to deal with any arisings that come our way and do our best to make sure that we get the ships back on the run. And more importantly, communicate to the customers that when there is a problem,” Boyd said.
While the Coastal Celebration was in dry dock, the reservation demand overwhelmed the system.
But Jimenez says that shouldn’t happen again.
“We have a new virtual waiting room that will be in place by the weekend to ensure website and e-site booking stability because in the event there is an unexpected and unsustainable demand on our systems,” Jimenez said.
But the BC United Party‘s transportation critic, Trevor Halford, said people just want a reliable service.
“We can have all the words that BC Ferries wants to put out. At the end of the day, BC Ferries needs to be a dependable option for British Columbians.”
The busiest overall travel days are expected to be Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings, followed by Monday and Tuesday.