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

Rampage come from behind to beat Ice Demons

Prince Rupert scored five goals in the third period to secure the win on Jan. 18

City of Prince Rupert still waiting on street light upgrades

Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure said work would be complete in 2018

How sweet it is: Sugar Shack is back for ninth year

On Jan. 23 the popular Francophone festival in Prince Rupert kicks off with a social

City of Prince Rupert to explore funding for Kwinitsa airport ferry

New roll-on, roll-off berth would be called “Rupert’s Landing”

RCMP asks again for public’s assistance to find Binh Tran

Tran was last seen around the 1600 block of Park Avenue on Dec. 11

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read