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 11:00 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

OPINION: Downtown needs more than just a plan

A champion needs to come forward to continue momentum on Keremeos downtown plan.

Three calls, two fires, half an hour

Oliver Volunteer Fire Department was kept busy Thursday evening

Spirit Ridge rebranding to Hyatt Hotels

First resort in Canada to join Hyatt’s exclusive Unbound Collection

Regional district meeting gets heated

Accusations of a director bullying and threatening staff surfaced

Thunderstorm rolls into town

Both the Okanagan and Shuswap region are anticipating a thunderstorm with strong winds, Thursday.

Mixing up local talent and cocktails

The annual Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff takes place in Kelowna in November

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Penticton patient care tower fundraising going strong

About $14.3 million in donations for the Penticton hospital has come in

Exercising her right to fight

Thinking inside the box helped push Geneva Kostashen through cancer treatment

Council approves all tax exemption requests

List includes charities, service groups and the Penticton Golf and Country Club

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

Most Read