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 3:00 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

Castlegar teens rescue man from river

Will Watt and Shay LaFayette helped save a fisherman from the Kootenay River.

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

Carfentanil found for first time in Castlegar

Killer opiod found in local illegal drug market

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Most Read