B.C. Ferries’ CEO says a new and improved website along with a mobile app could be ready by as early as the fall, but a new reservation system is still 18-24 months away. (BLACK PRESS file photo)

B.C. Ferries CEO says new reservation system will improve efficiency

Reservation fee structure undergoing changes over next two years

Changes to B.C. Ferries operations are just around the corner.

Mark Collins, president and chief executive officer for B.C. Ferries, said the company is planning on introducing a brand-new website as soon as the fall, and a new reservation system that includes flexible fare pricing within the next 18 to 24 months.

“We are on the cusp of a new website, a new mobile application and we are on the cusp of a new reservation system that will be considerably more flexible,” Collins said.

Collins made the comments following a presentation to members of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday at the Coast Bastion Hotel, where he provided an update on B.C. Ferries. He said the corporation’s new reservation system will follow a model similar to what airlines and train use that would allow customers to change their reservations without penalty.

“We need to make that convenient for you with no extra fees or charges because it is what you bought,” he said.

The new reservation system will only apply to B.C. Ferries’ major routes. Collins said under the new system, reservation fees will be a thing of the past.

“For the major routes, we see reservation fees going away and becoming part of the base fare,” he said.

B.C. Ferries has been working on IT improvements for years, but customers wouldn’t have noticed because the changes have largely been internal, according to Collins, who said the first elements of their reservation system and a new customer relationship management system went live internally about three weeks ago.

“In the last five years we have spent probably close to $400 million on IT systems,” he said. “Much of it is in the background.”

Collins said a new and improved website along with a mobile app could be ready by as early as the fall but the reservation system won’t be introduced for at least a year and a half. He said B.C. Ferries wants to avoid rolling out a system that is broken.

“We are not into the Phoenix pay system problem here … we want people to be happy from day one,” he said.

Speaking to Black Press afterward, Collins explained that under the new reservation system customers will be able to pay for their reservation in advance. He said there will be multiple ways for customers to save money under the new system, adding that those who book in advance will find lower fares than those who wait until the last minute.

“You should see multiple choices for the same sailing. If you want the ability to change your reservation, it is one fee and if you’re happy to forgo flexibility and you want to lock in, you can get a lower price,” he said. “If you book in advance, say three weeks ahead versus three days ahead you will get a lower price.”

Collins said switching to the new system will improve efficiency as it will allow B.C. Ferries to better plan and prepare sailings. He said the new system should also alleviate some of the congestion at terminals where traffic can be backed up during peak season.

“When I think about neighbourhoods … where they have to endure these traffic lineups, that could be a thing of the past under this system because people will only go to the terminal when they have a reservation,” he said.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Coastal GasLink prepares sites of construction work camps

Unist’ot’en condemn 14 ‘man camps’ housing 500-800 workers as threatening safety of women and children

TSKLH Nation sues Province over Brucejack mine revenue sharing

The Tsetsaut/Skii km Lax Ha seeks to assert rights and title in the area around Pretivm gold mine.

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

B.C. high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

The Surrey team was also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

Most Read