This is an update to a story I wrote early this morning. Within a few hours, BC Ferries posted an announcement that it had cancelled the try-out of a new reservation system. The trial system would have created no-fee reservations for up to 95 percent of spaces on the Langdale-Horseshoe Bay run. Here’s the story as first posted:
BC Ferries’ plan for “free” reservations will be a lot less than free for many commuters.
The plan proposes varying fares for reserved travel with a top two-way fare of $50. The non-reserved fare would be $66. That amounts to an additional $16 per round trip.
Commuters often rush to or from work and can’t stop to reserve a sailing. Those with varying work hours, for example an on-call nurse who works in Vancouver, could face $80 per week in extra ferry costs. In a 50-week work year, that’s $4,000.
There’s also a proposed fee for no-shows of $10 each time. If the nurse reserves all home-bound sailings but stays late while helping patients, the yearly cost—in addition to the normal ferry fares—could rise to $6,500.
Coasters need to get to work and return home, no matter when their job calls them in or how much overtime they do. Let’s gear the system toward these workers. They matter to our community far more than tourists, who can plan their sailings at their leisure.
The ferry system isn’t broken. In fact, it’s doing so well that we need more ferries to fill demand. Let’s get another ferry and leave the reservation system alone.