BC Ferries has upgraded its fleet

BC Ferries moving to online booking, variable fares

Prices will be discounted for lower-demand times, fee for reservations phased out as web-based system is installed

  • Dec. 3, 2014 9:00 a.m.

BC Ferries plans to move ahead with a website upgrade that will allow passengers to pay for tickets online, avoid reservation fees and pay variable fares depending on demand.

The computer upgrade is to be phased in starting in 2017, with a pilot project for passengers on the main Vancouver-Vancouver Island runs. The system will offer discounted fares for off-peak sailings and advance booking without the current reservation fees.

BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan said the project will cost $10-15 million, but based on the experience of other systems, it will increase ridership and reduce costs.

“It’s a variable priced booking system that’s used by golf courses, hotels, airlines,” Corrigan said. “It’s the way the world is moving. Depending how far in advance you book, what restrictions you’re willing to put on yourself, and when you want to play, stay or travel, you’re going to get a different price.”

The price range will be determined by the pilot projects. Passengers will still have the option of showing up at the terminal and paying to board, with a posted price that will be adjusted according to demand for that sailing.

The new booking system was proposed two years ago in a review of ferry operations by Gord Macatee, who reviewed operations when he was appointed BC Ferries Commissioner in charge of rates and service delivery. Macatee must approve the move before it can go ahead.

BC Ferries’ point-of-sale system is 25 years old, and requires manual collection of fares.

BC Ferries projects the new system will increase vehicle and passenger traffic by three to five per cent as it is extended to more routes. By adding food, gift shop and other services to the online order system, the corporation hopes to generate an annual revenue increase of $11 million to $18 million, mostly due to increased traffic.

“People can actually pay for the full ferry service, including the buffet maybe, and some other services when they pay, so when they get to the ferry terminal, they’re basically just verifying their purchase and moving onboard the vessel,” Corrigan said.

BC Ferries is inviting public comment on its proposal until the end of December.

 

Just Posted

Gwaii Haanas celebrates new Land-Sea-People plan

Forty per cent of Gwaii Haanas marine areas protected under new, integrated plan

Kitimat arena closed until further notice due to chilling system malfunction

Saturday night’s Terrace River Kings and Kitimat Ice Demons game was cancelled as a result

Northwest Regional Airport traffic increases

LNG announcement has sparked interest

Study being conducted on proposed railyard

Facility could offload up to 60 rail cars of propane daily

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Pot users, investors need to be vigilant at Canada-U.S. border

U.S. authorities say anyone who admits to having used pot before it became legal could be barred

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, bloody B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Most Read