At the last council meeting BC Ferries put forward a motion to have three LED signs installed at the Departure Bay terminal for a cost of approximately $300,000. BC Ferries also plans to install similar signs at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. That would be a total cost of at least $600,000. The purpose of these signs would be to generate revenue from ads and to tell drivers to shut off their engines, etc.
The residents in the area gave presentations to council outlining several concerns regarding the proposed installation of these LED signs. The signs are 9 meters tall and 20 square meters in area. There would be significant light pollution for the neighbours.
BC Ferries only held public open houses on weekdays before and directly after Labour Day. The neighbouring residents presented a petition against the proposed signs to which Councillor Greves commented, “I don’t think much of petitions, there is even someone who signed this from Ontario.”
In the end, all the councillors opposed the three signs and their size except for Councillor Anderson who stepped out when it came time to vote.
In July about 100 vehicles meant to be loaded onto the 3:10 p.m. sailing from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay were held back while terminal staff gave the green light to vehicles that had arrived later. Some passengers had to wait over five hours. Although BC Ferries issued a refund for the loading error, many passengers were still unhappy. What is the average wait time for people in a ferry line up in the busy summer months?
After this experience, what are the chances these tourists will want to return?
At the same council meeting Councillor Bestwick asked the BC Ferries representative: “How many walk-ons are there? How many people are first time ferry users?” The BC Ferries rep did not have these stats available. Do they know?
Ferry rates have increased as much as 75% and there has been a decrease in service routes. BC Ferries should be restoring service levels.
BC Ferries needs a queue system to manage lineups, rather than the current reservation system which creates a ‘have’ and ‘have not’ line up. It’s not effective and it’s costly to operate.
In other countries they are using queue systems that are effective and do not require people to line up. BC Ferries needs to think outside the box. Ferry line ups can be eliminated.
What if there were self-serve kiosks set up around Nanaimo or Parksville and tourists could print their own transportation tickets, baggage tags, and then, just like an online order, a person could stay informed through a mobile app when to arrive at the ferry? Just think what an economic boon it would be for Nanaimo. Instead of people waiting in a car for five hours, people could be spending more time in town shopping or eating at restaurants.
BC Ferries could also implement a system where people could order their food in advance without lining up at the cafeteria. People could present a receipt and their food order would be ready.
We live in a modern world; it’s time for some creative thinking.