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

UPDATE: Wildfire on Hawk Road, off Nazko Road, now extinguished

Crews had the fire out within a day after it started Aug. 12

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Letter: Let marijuana growth in ALR

How much more unproductive land do we want to accumulate in the ALR?

UPDATED: One arrested after G.R. Baker Hospital doors damaged in attempted robbery

Police have arrested one man in relation to the incident and are looking for more suspects

Quesnel RCMP recover stolen travel trailer worth $70,000

It was discovered at a property in the Pinnacles area after an unrelated complaint was received

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Night patrol on Chilliwack waters leads DFO to seize 48 sockeye and harbour seal from poachers

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for salmon fishing at night

Vancouver 6th most liveable city in the world: report

West coast city narrowly beats Toronto, but is bested by Calgary

Plaque that replaced Macdonald statue at Victoria city hall vandalized

Less than 24 hours after plaque was installed, an ‘X’ had been scratched through the centre

UPDATED: Cars plunge in Italian highway bridge collapse; 25 killed

Five more people are injured and in serious condition

Court hearing on Humboldt Broncos fundraising to test Saskatchewan law

The money has yet to be distributed because Saskatchewan has legislation known as the Informal Public Appeals Act

Fredericton police release scene of shooting spree, but ‘damage’ remains

Residents of a Fredericton apartment complex may not be able to return home just yet

Bus crash in Ecuador kills 23 people, injures 14

The bus hit another vehicle in an area known as dead man’s curve on Tuesday

Trump and Omarosa spar over claim he used N-word

Manigault Newman continues promoting her White House tell-all and releasing secret audio recordings

Most Read