Wednesday April 23, 2014

question of the week

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.

Questioning the statistics


An open letter to Michael Corrigan of BC Ferries.

I live on the Sunshine Coast and regularly take the Langdale - Horseshoe Bay route.

On your website a page is titled “Is the ferry on time?” where you state that in 2012, 91.7 per cent of all BC Ferries’ sailings either left on time or within 10 minutes of the scheduled time, and of the 8.3 per cent, heavy traffic resulted in 55 per cent of all the sailings. 

But stats are only as good as the variables that are associated with them and there are a lot of variables. BC Ferries has 40 routes, all of which have different load levels, travel times and boat speeds. 

It’s hard to make sense of the statistics of your time performance when there are so many variables to take into account. For example, a 10-minute delay on a seven-hour trip is a lot different than on a two-hour trip or a 30-minute trip.

This leads me to one question: why isn’t this on-time performance done by route? I am sure some routes are always on time and others are somewhat late. But yet you offer daily status for the main routes, and those pages clearly show if the ferry is on time and if it’s running behind.

BC Ferries, you are accountable to your ridership and the taxpayers of British Columbia, and providing accurate stats of your on-time performance is part of that accountability. 

Robert Dall, Sechelt



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