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 12:00 p.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

Sunshine Valley teens burning with promise

Possibly the youngest in B.C., Sunshine Valley trains 15- and 16-year-old firefighters

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Hang gliding video gives stunning view of Harrison and Fraser river confluence

Aerial view shows striking difference between two rivers as they meet

Young Chilliwack singer launches career with French classic

Deanne Ratzlaff performs as featured vocalist in La Vie en Rose in Chilliwack, London and Paris

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read