Isn’t it time to seriously consider designing a vehicle reservations system as a primary demand management strategy for our BC Ferries? This is a system successfully in place in Washington state since 2009. Users reserve at no extra cost. Every sailing leaves 10 per cent capacity open for standby and emergency needs.
The objective of the Washington State Ferries system “is to operate a high-quality service, without the expense of expanding terminal facilities, by encouraging customers to travel on sailings that are currently underutilized.”
On the WSF website is a list of the benefits of their system.
• Reducing or eliminating traffic congestion on roads leading to terminals.
• Providing predictable and convenient travel.
• Increasing business in ferry served communities.
• Reducing air pollution from idling vehicles.
• Saving money by avoiding terminal expansion and/or added service.
• Reducing traffic control costs and holding area maintenance costs.
I would add, certainty for users to get on a scheduled ferry instead the present crapshoot. B.C.’s ferries now have a reputation that increasingly deters people from travelling on them. I know I am one of these people. Tourists, too, are looking for B.C. destinations that don’t include a ferry.
When the ferry fare includes a reservation, as it does in Washington state, your odds and choices are clear. Things need to change. Government money is scarce. Washington State Ferries improved service and saved money by designing and implementing a successful customer-friendly reservation system that works.
Time for a change to a system that works.
If you are curious, this is the link to the WSF reservation system Q and A.
Gale Tyler, Halfmoon Bay