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Public interest helps chart a future Ferries vision

Press Release

March 27, 2024

VICTORIA – Nearly ten thousand people have affirmed that the public’s interest is for BC Ferries to keep its focus on improving reliability, affordability and better travel integration as it plans a vision for the future of the coastal ferry system.

Overall, when asked what was most important to them in their ferry system as part of the Charting the Course public survey, 80 per cent of respondents listed one of reliability (33%), affordability (30%) or better integration with transit and active transportation (17%) as their top priority.

“The way that people live, work and travel is evolving and we know the population of B.C. is set to grow significantly in the coming years. It’s important that we continue to respond to today’s customers’ expectations as well as look longer term to best ensure our service remains reliable and affordable,” says BC Ferries’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Nicolas Jimenez. “The priorities people have raised are the same ones we put first every day, and I’m encouraged we have our focus in the right place. As an essential public service, we know there’s more to do and these results will be invaluable in guiding our decision-making as we shape our vision for the future.”

Based on the feedback results, BC Ferries will focus its policy work on five key areas to help inform the final vision: service levels; integration of ferry services into the wider transportation network; the role of coastal ferries in the movement of goods; approaches to pricing and demand management; and, approaches to reducing GHG emissions.

Already BC Ferries has been able to make recent progress in a number of other areas identified by participants. For example, cancellations due to crew shortages have dropped by 37 per cent compared to the same period last year, thanks in particular to the 1,200 crew hired over the past 12 months. The next four Island Class vessels are on track for delivery by 2027, and BC Ferries is also building up to seven new major vessels to be in service starting in 2029. Together, these will add much needed capacity to the system and create significant flexibility in replacing ships during refit or as mechanical issues arise.

Charting the Course will provide a vision for the coastal ferry system that keeps people, goods, and services connected in coastal communities. Further engagement will continue with interest holders and Indigenous communities to help inform policy development and overall costing, with the final vision expected in early 2025. Charting the Course is a joint visioning exercise between BC Ferries and the BC Ferry Authority Board.

Key facts:

  • 9,400 people responded to the online survey
  • 561 BC Ferries employees provided input on the survey
  • 400 people took part in 36 meetings and workshops, including Indigenous and coastal communities, local governments, the provincial government, business associations, schools, regional tourism associations, accessibility groups, transportation partners, and BC Ferries employees

Learn more:
The engagement report can be found here.

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Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267
media@bcferries.comCustomer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 410-1465
Toll-free: 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779)

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