How is this for a BC Ferries’ business model?

Dear editor,

BC Ferries' death spiral accelerates. Management is bereft of workable ideas

Dear editor,

BC Ferries’ death spiral accelerates.

Massive fare increases have steadily reduced ridership, and management is so bereft of workable ideas that all they can think to do is double-down on their failing business plan by blindly hacking away at service levels while further fare increases loom ominously.

This course is doomed to failure and may well destroy the service entirely.

Innovative thinking is required. The path to that goal begins with an understanding of the core function of the ferry service: It is to provide the essential transportation link to communities that can only be reached over water — Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and several isolated mainland communities.

Everything else is extraneous.

That means an end to the conceit that BCFC is akin to a cruise service offering discretionary travel and vacation package services; an end to pointless advertising and media relations functions; serious reduction in a bureaucracy bloated with supernumeraries and career-track empire builders.

Cleaving to the core function model means eliminating services for which there are alternatives.

Prince Rupert, having a perfectly good highway into town, is not ferry-dependent. Eliminate the Port Hardy-Prince Rupert run and save over $30 million. Some of that savings would have to go to a new, right-sized service from Port Hardy to mid-coast hamlets like Bella Bella and Klemtu.

Eliminate the Mill Bay ferry. It is a convenience and nothing more.

Rationalize the service to the southern Gulf Islands such that they are all served out of Swartz Bay, then eliminate service from Tsawwassen to Salt Spring [Long Harbour] et. al.

There is no reason why Salt Spring, large though it is compared to other Gulf Islands, needs three separate ferry services. That’s convenience, not necessity.

It is also must be questioned why Powell River needs two separate ferry links. The Comox-Powell River ferry service is a way underutilized convenience that could be done away with.

Either that or the Saltery Bay-Earls Cove service should go.  Whichever service remains could be expanded if necessary to provide optimal service levels to that community.

There is no reason why there should be three major terminals on Vancouver Island connecting to two terminals on the Lower Mainland.

Duke Point was built principally to get large truck traffic out of Nanaimo proper. This is a good idea that must be maintained.

Close Departure Bay and centralize all mid-island traffic at Duke Point — it is large and largely unused, with great highway connections. All that is needed is to establish regular transit links into town.

The land at Departure Bay is quite valuable and should be sold off to the highest bidder.

Finally, management pay should be reeled back out of the stratosphere to a level more in line with salaries paid by the comparable Washington ferry service. Executives who object can leave — no one is irreplaceable.

Certainly, nothing current management has done to address BCFC’s chronic problems merits the bonus-laden salaries they presently command.

And if seniors’ discounts are now passé, then fairness demands that all BCFC employees — union and management — should pay when they ride, too.

At a guess, changes like these might save BCFC well over $50 million annually and take it much further back down the path toward once again defining itself as an essential service provider, the original reason for its creation.

BCFC desperately needs outside-the-box thinking to save itself before it is carried out in a box for burial at sea.

Robert French,

Denman Island

 

Just Posted

Learn about the future sewer service in Courtenay and Comox

The public is invited to learn more about the Comox Valley sewer… Continue reading

VIDEO: Whale and sea lions at play near Mitlenatch Island

It was a spectacular sight Sunday evening near Mitlenatch Island for Thomas… Continue reading

Mainroad prepares to clear North Island roads this winter

Mainroad North Island Contracting LP’s road servicing contract began Sept. 1

Hamir brings agriculture to the Comox Valley Regional District forefront

Air quality also high on priority list for new Area B director

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Crown says man guilty of B.C. girl’s 1978 murder based on alleged confession

Jury hears details of girl’s 1978 murder while Crown says man should be convicted of girl’s murder based on alleged confession.

BCHL alumni has NHL jersey retired by Anaheim Ducks

Paul Kariya played with the Penticton Vees from 1990-1992

Most Read