With the ongoing issues with the services of BC Ferries lately, the CEO addressed the media Wednesday morning ahead of the busiest long weekend of the year.
During the press conference, President and CEO Nicolas Jiminez vowed to do better over the BC Day long weekend, where upwards of 580,000 passengers and 210,000 vehicles are expected.
In July, travellers encountered extended waiting periods attributed to a range of factors, including shortages in staffing, ferry maintenance with the Coast Celebration, and an unforeseen website glitch.
“We have challenges,” Jiminez said, stating that the ferry service issues can’t be fixed overnight. He then went on to say “we have struggled.”
Jiminez says the BC Ferries team has been busy preparing for the upcoming weekend which includes the following:
- Every vessel will be in operation running at full capacity
- Each day this BC long weekend, roughly 1,800 staff members will be working
- BC Ferries have arranged additional key licensed officers in critical positions to be on standby in the event of a staffing issue
- Over 100 people will staff the call centres to address the expected 9,000 calls
- There will enhancements made to address any possible issues with the BC Ferries website—including increasing the server capacity at their data centres
- Pricing deals are being offered at less busier BC Ferries terminals to take pressure off the other terminals that experience higher traffic demands
In anticipation of the busy weekend, the ferry service is alerting travellers about periods of high foot passenger traffic on August 1st and August 5th. This is partly due to the influx of large group reservations.
The busiest overall travel days are expected to be Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings, followed by Monday and Tuesday mornings.
It is less busy on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and the Wednesday after the holiday.
Walk-on passengers are encouraged to arrive at least 45 minutes early.
From Aug 3 – 8, we expect to welcome over 580k passengers & 210k vehicles on board.
If you have a booking, plan to arrive 45-60 mins before your sailing. If you don't have a booking, consider travel at less busy times or walk on board to avoid waits. (1/7) pic.twitter.com/k62u3n4Dx7
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) July 31, 2023
According to the Jiminez, who has only been in the position for a few months, the initial quarter of 2023 has marked the company’s most bustling period to date. Within a span of three months, over 5.8 million passengers and 2.5 million vehicles have utilized BC Ferries services.