Reliability and affordability were top concerns in BC Ferries survey

Reliability and affordability were top concerns in BC Ferries survey
Nicholas Pescod

BC Ferries says reliability and affordability were at top of mind for customers who responded to a recent survey launched by the company.

Nearly 10,000 people took part in the online survey, including 561 BC Ferries employees, which asked travellers what the company should focus on in the future.

The most commonly selected answer was reliability, with 33 per cent of respondents selecting that as their top concern, followed by affordability with 30 per cent, and better integration with transit and active transportation at 17 per cent.

BC Ferries says it’s working hard to improve in these areas, and notes that sailing cancellations caused by crew shortages have dropped 37 per cent compared to the same time last year.

The company adds that it’s hired roughly 1,200 new crew members over the past 12 months, and that four more hybrid Island Class ferries are expected to arrive in B.C. by 2027.

SEE ALSO: BC Ferries awards building contract for new hybrid electric vessels

BC Ferries also plans to add seven new “major vessels” to its fleet by 2029, which will improve the fleet’s flexibility. For example, the company says by having more major vessels available, it will have more options to replace ships that go out of service unexpectedly.

“The way that people live, work and travel is evolving and we know the population of B.C. is set to grow significantly in the coming years,” said BC Ferries president and CEO Nicolas Jimenez in a release Wednesday.

“It’s important that we continue to respond to today’s customers’ expectations as well as look longer term to best ensure our service remains reliable and affordable,” he said.

BC Ferries says it is focusing on five key areas moving forward, based on the results of the survey. Those five areas are:

  • Service levels
  • Integration of ferry services into the wider transportation network
  • The role of coastal ferries in the movement of goods
  • Approaches to pricing and demand management
  • Approaches to reducing GHG emissions

While this online survey has finished, BC Ferries says it still plans to have more public engagement in the future as part of its “Charting the Course” joint exercise between the company and the BC Ferry Authority Board. It expects its “final vision” – which will help inform policies moving forward – to complete in early 2025.

“The priorities people have raised are the same ones we put first every day, and I’m encouraged we have our focus in the right place,” said Jimenez.

“As an essential public service, we know there’s more to do and these results will be invaluable in guiding our decision-making as we shape our vision for the future.”

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