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  #21  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 7:51 PM
cornholio cornholio is offline
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As someone who uses the ferry service often and sees the damage being done to the province as a result of the Liberal policies I have to say this is another reason why this province desperately needs to turn left and reverse many of these changes, this includes fully funding BC ferries as the important transportation infrastructure that it is.

The damage the liberals are causing is first of all difficult to calculate and the worst of it wont be felt until years later.

It is insane what they have already done to BC ferries, they basically have already dismantled half of this important infrastructure that took a countless decades to build up.
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  #22  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 8:10 PM
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Closing the route would break the Trans-Canada Highway into 2 disconnected segments
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  #23  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 8:21 PM
Kisai Kisai is offline
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Speculatively speaking:

Global News suggests that the problem is Horseshoe Bay terminal, as larger ferries can't be supported on that end.

Which is true. I'm not sure why people would commute from Nanaimo into Vancouver, but they do. They certainly wouldn't if they had to go all the way through Tsawwassen.

This probably puts the "build a bridge" (for truck traffic) back on the radar.
http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/Publications...fixed_link.htm

Notice there's a "Nanaimo to Richmond(YVR)" suggestion that could still be a ferry route.

A fixed link however is somewhere in the 8-12 billion cost. 200 million to upgrade the ferry terminals is a drop in the bucket by comparison.
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  #24  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 8:38 PM
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Originally Posted by djmk View Post
it's not being planned. They are just throwing out some ideas out there.

that being said, one of the north van mayors said last night that this might be ok with their city/district because the ferry puts a lot of strain on the bridges.
Oh yeah you can definitely tell when you've hit ferry traffic sometimes. On a purely selfish level I'd be OK with this, the ferries are too expensive to use anyway. My brother takes a float plane to my aunt's house on Salt Spring and it isn't much more.
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  #25  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 8:48 PM
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  #26  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 10:00 PM
officedweller officedweller is offline
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Through the 1970s (and 80s?) - there were only 2 main routes to the island - Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay and Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay.

Originally Tsawwassen - Duke Point was exclusively for trucks - it used the Queen of Alberni with infrequent sailings. That ferry was subsequently double decked and became more of a general purpose route. Originally, it was to reduce congestion at the Horseshow Bay (and Departure Bay?) terminals - I can't recall, but Tsawwassen runs may have originally docked at Departure Bay.

Both Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay are convenient terminals - but both suffer from congestion and expansion problems because of their locations (i.e. why they are convenient).

The Horseshoe Bay terminal will not die, because it'll still be needed for the Bowen Island and Langdale runs. And parents at the local schools who complain about exhaust will be happy.

In the 80s or 90s (and as mentioned by Kisai) there was a plan floated to have one terminal on Gabriola and a terminal on Iona - making for a short ferry ride.

If the only route is a 2 hour Tsawwassen-Duke Point route, they can't just eliminate a route - the longer sailing means that they'll have to increase the sailings on that route to move as many passengers and cars.

For commuters, there's another harbour to harbour hydrofoil or catamaran service proposed, or otherwise commuters take seaplanes (which can get fogged in).
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  #27  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 11:03 PM
st7860 st7860 is offline
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It just feels wrong when the cost of a plane ticket to the island is not that much more than the cost of taking a car over..
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  #28  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 11:49 PM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
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I think a lot of people are over reacting. To me this just sounds like they are trying to plan for the future, and looking at all the options. Its something smart organizations with a lot of capital and expenses involved in long term operations should do.

This is a long term plan, not something they would just implement instantly. The terminals are where they are because of tradition, not because of current good business logic. I mean, the Horseshoe Bay - Departure bay route only exists because Black Ball was chased out of Washington state and had to do something with the boats they had left.

Coupled with road upgrades (many of which are planned), routing most vehicle traffic through Tsawwassen might make a lot of business sense. It is worth examining, not just dismissing out of hand because it's a different idea that goes against 50+ years of tradition.

Think about it like this. Right now, in the low season, there are 4 ferries sailing between Vancouver and Nanaimo. 2 from Horseshoe Bay, 2 from Tsawwassen. If all those sailed from Horseshoe, that would be a sailing every hour, the same frequency as Victoria gets in the peak summer season, right now, in the low season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornholio View Post
As someone who uses the ferry service often and sees the damage being done to the province as a result of the Liberal policies I have to say this is another reason why this province desperately needs to turn left and reverse many of these changes, this includes fully funding BC ferries as the important transportation infrastructure that it is.

The damage the liberals are causing is first of all difficult to calculate and the worst of it wont be felt until years later.

It is insane what they have already done to BC ferries, they basically have already dismantled half of this important infrastructure that took a countless decades to build up.
As someone else who uses BC Ferries very often, I would disagree.

Dismantled half the important infrastructure? What half? Since taking power the liberals have dramatically upgraded and expanded the size of the main terminals, upgraded almost every ferry, and bought properly built new ferries that have replaced the use of much smaller ferries on the major routes. There are more sailings and more capacity than there used to be.

Taking the ferry since the Liberals took power has been a dream compared to what it was like under the NDP.

It could be that as a (semi) private company it is run better, or just technology has marched forward. Under the NDP taking the ferry was a crap shoot. You would drive up to the ferry and have no idea if you were going to get on that ferry, or even if it was on time.

I waited several times in the parking lot for 3 or 4 hours without ferries showing up because of mechanical problems, that they refused to announce over the PA. And that was when there were no terminal facilities. So if you were hungry, you had to wait, because maybe right when you walked down the street to the nearest pub and made an order was when the ferry would suddenly show up.

Now that information is public. You can track the locations of ferries on your phone. They make public announcements when ferries are late, and even say why.

They also never told you if you were going to be on the next ferry or not. You would ask and they would give you the union backed blank stare and indifferent shrug. They knew how many tickets they sold, and that you had a sailing wait, but they intentionally kept you in the dark.

Now there are signs before you get to the terminals telling you exactly how busy the ferries are (and the information is online). And to my experience they are very accurate. They tell you at the gate when you buy a ticket what ferry you will be on. And in the last 10 years I've never been told I would be on a ferry and not make it, and out of all the times I was told I might have to wait, maybe 4 or 5 times I squeaked on as one of the last cars.

They only thing they are doing wrong is the pricing. The price right now is perfect... for the prime-time Friday and Sunday 5pm sailing. Sailings at the less busy hours should have reduced rates. They need variable pricing. There would be less crush at the busy sailings and the 9pm (and summer 10pm) sailings wouldn't be empty. It would spread load and demand and increase efficiency, as well as attract more riders who stay away for the high price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by officedweller View Post
Comments:

Through the 1970s (and 80s?) - there were only 2 main routes to the island - Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay and Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay.

Originally Tsawwassen - Duke Point was exclusively for trucks - it used the Queen of Alberni with infrequent sailings. That ferry was subsequently double decked and became more of a general purpose route. Originally, it was to reduce congestion at the Horseshow Bay (and Departure Bay?) terminals - I can't recall, but Tsawwassen runs may have originally docked at Departure Bay.

Both Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay are convenient terminals - but both suffer from congestion and expansion problems because of their locations (i.e. why they are convenient).

The Horseshoe Bay terminal will not die, because it'll still be needed for the Bowen Island and Langdale runs. And parents at the local schools who complain about exhaust will be happy.

In the 80s or 90s (and as mentioned by Kisai) there was a plan floated to have one terminal on Gabriola and a terminal on Iona - making for a short ferry ride.

If the only route is a 2 hour Tsawwassen-Duke Point route, they can't just eliminate a route - the longer sailing means that they'll have to increase the sailings on that route to move as many passengers and cars.

For commuters, there's another harbour to harbour hydrofoil or catamaran service proposed, or otherwise commuters take seaplanes (which can get fogged in).
The mid-Island express started in 1990 and ran through Departure bay until Duke Point opened in 1997. It was built as a shortcut for Island trucking heading to the rest of BC and the US. But it also served an important function after an accident at Horseshoe bay. The parking lot there used to be absolutely terrible - very steep - and in 1990 a dumptruck loaded with hot asphalt lost control down the hill and slammed into a van waiting in line at the ferries, killing 2 and injuring 7. The NDP planned on banning truck traffic through Horseshoe Bay (and I think it was for a while until Horseshoe was upgraded) and force all truck traffic through Duke Point. This would allow Departure Bay - Horseshoe bay to focus on passenger traffic, thus the Fast Ferries were born.

The existence of 2 terminals in Nanaimo is the brain child of the NDP that wanted to use Departure bay for Fast Ferries with a focus on walk on passengers, with most vehicle traffic going through Duke Point. The fast ferries don't exist, so I'm surprised it has taken this long to reexamine the need for 2 terminals serving Nanaimo (although I believe this has been talked about much before in a less official capacity).
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  #29  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 11:50 PM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st7860 View Post
It just feels wrong when the cost of a plane ticket to the island is not that much more than the cost of taking a car over..
Have you ever tried taking a car on a plane? Now that's expensive!
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  #30  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2014, 11:52 PM
officedweller officedweller is offline
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Yeah, I was just going to say that you aren't taking a car on the plane.

Cool, thanks for the background - that makes more sense now.
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  #31  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 12:39 AM
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Yikes, that's not the kind of trial balloon you let out without a lot of time being spent on it first. At this point I think there may be acceptance of change if only a future were presented that they could believe in.
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  #32  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 1:16 AM
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  #33  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 1:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post
Have you ever tried taking a car on a plane? Now that's expensive!
That's the only reason I don't do it - Salt Spring is great but good luck enjoying it without a car.

But I just don't go at all these days - I think twice in the last 10 years. In the 90s I'd take a ferry every couple months.
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  #34  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 2:04 AM
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I guess it wasnt Todd Stone's idea to axe the route but hes not winning me over with stuff like this and the recent promise to go after uber drivers. Also his lack of support for the mayor's transit plan.
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  #35  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 2:35 AM
ssiguy ssiguy is offline
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BC Ferries refuses to implement passenger-only as they make a lot of money on the cars.

Even if the Massey Tunnel can handle the traffic {and with the tolls planned for it will be a real cash cow for the province which is probably why they are doing this in the first place} but how do they get thru Vancouver to the North Shore, Burnaby or downtown?

Also, due to them building the SFPR both under capacity and full of stop lights it won't be able to handle the traffic either.

Also there are a lot of walk-ons that use transit especially in the summer. How will they be served. you can't have them on buses to the Canada Line as it is already over capacity and has no extra room to spare especially with people with lots of luggage and camping gear.

BC is deliberately running BC Ferries into the ground. The more they cut service or make it more difficult to use, the lower the ridership and that gives them an excuse to further cut the service. Gabriola Island has had it's service cut so badly that the real estate market is in complete collapse. They actually stopped all ferry service after 9:00 pm, meaning you can't even go to a movie in Nanaimo and god help you if you work late.
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  #36  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 3:05 AM
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Well I take the ferries A LOT. And I'm not exaggerating. There were a number of years in school where I'd make a round trip on the ferries every weekend.
The last time I payed attention, the reservation number my family uses had over 500 reservations made.

Since the Coastal Ferry Act back in 2003, there have been some pretty notable changes. I'd say the service as a whole has improved. The ferries are more likely to be on time, and the staff seem to be more friendly and helpful nowadays. They must have gone through some sensitivity training or had some scolding, because there were times back in the 90's where certain employees came across as really not caring about your satisfaction.

The ferries and terminals are absolutely much nicer, having all been updated inside. Sometimes I wonder if they've gone a little too far in the direction of catering to tourists however. It's a ferry, not a cruise ship.


That being said, there are a number of changes I'd like to see, some of which have been mentioned.

Before making major service cuts, I think it is important to consider the effect fares have had on ridership. The major routes haven't seen major drops, whereas the small routes have. The conclusion I take from this is that the demand is much more elastic for the locals on some of the smaller islands that tend to have lower incomes than the tourists that make up a large chunk of the passengers on the main routes. Perhaps looking back to ridership data from a decade or so ago gives a better idea of the ridership those small routes would have, given reasonable fares. Rather than getting into a cycle of cutting routes and raising fares, I'd like to see fares relaxed a bit, and allowing time to see how ridership responds. The route cancellations may not be necessary in the first place.


In the long term, I think it only makes sense to keep one terminal in Nanaimo. Obviously Duke Point is newer and more future-proof, so that should be the one they use. I would like to see a Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo run continue, just going through Duke Point instead of Departure Bay. I don't see this happening over the next 10 years though. They need to at least recoup the investment they've made into the terminal upgrades.
Selling the land could probably provide much of the money needed to expand Duke Point.


I'd also like to see flexible fares. In the winter, on the minor routes, it's not uncommon to be on a ferry that has fewer than 10 cars on it. Reduced fares for these quiet sailings could maybe take some demand from the sailings a peak times that tend to fill up. This would increase the capacity utilization of the network without actually expanding anything. As well, I think it makes sense to have cheaper fares if they are booked far in advance. Perhaps even frequent traveller points or something of the like.
This would hopefully make the ferries more affordable for locals who are able to take advantages of these offers, while having tourists who are potentially more willing and able continue to pay full prices.


This may be a bit of a contentious topic, but I'd like to see a reasonable level of funding for ferries (in any region) from at least the provincial and ideally, federal government. The cost increases have really been crippling to the people living on some of the smaller islands, and to a lesser extent, to Vancouver Island.
Now, I think it would be too much of a challenge to go back to the old model, so I'm not advocating a return to that. But I do think that ferries should absolutely be considered part of the highway network and receive appropriate levels of funding as a result. Most of us will probably never use the roads up north or interior ferries that our tax dollars help fund, but they are still essential components of infrastructure, and it seems that the coastal ferries have been unfairly singled out to have to mostly fund themselves.

Vancouver Island has a more significant population than either of those regions, and the coastal ferries see much more use. If we aren't willing to moderately subsidize coastal ferries, I think it's rather hypocritical to continue full funding for interior ferries or roads in remote regions with small populations.
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  #37  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 4:23 AM
spm2013 spm2013 is offline
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  #38  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 5:31 AM
casper casper is offline
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My understanding is that route was originally operated by the Black Ball Ferry Line. Black Ball pulled out when BC Ferries we setup to operate the route as a public service. The are quite capable of operating the Victoria to Washington State route without government subsidy. Let them take over the Nanaimo route.

https://www.cohoferry.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puget_S...gation_Company
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  #39  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 5:36 AM
casper casper is offline
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Also of interest is that the Coho operated by the Black Ball line was built in 1959. Why is it they can operate this ship for 50 years and BC Ferries struggles with ships that are younger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Coho
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  #40  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2014, 8:47 AM
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Originally Posted by casper View Post
Also of interest is that the Coho operated by the Black Ball line was built in 1959. Why is it they can operate this ship for 50 years and BC Ferries struggles with ships that are younger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Coho

Even though I'm sure upkeep costs of that old vessel are higher, you have to keep in mind BC Ferries has to repay the capital costs of all the new ferries that have been built. It's like driving a 20 year old SUV vs a brand new prius. It might get horrible mileage, but it's paid off so you don't have car payments to worry about.
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