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

Heliports certified at Comox Valley, Campbell River hospitals

Both sites should see heliports up and running by late summer

Crown Isle acquires Longlands Golf Course

The Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community just got a little bit… Continue reading

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Three small wildfires burning west of Courtenay

The blazes are the result of a brief thunderstorm last night

Outdoor classroom coming to Huband Park Elementary

The project has been a collaboration of various community groups, says PAC member

VIDEO: Trades jobs the way of the future on Vancouver Island?

Hundreds of people attend Black Press Career Fair in Nanaimo

Revenue Canada scam swindles $3,000 from B.C. resident

Victim provides fraudster with $3,000 in iTunes gift cards

VIDEO: Readers submit their most ‘summery’ Valley photos

As today is the official first day of summer and the longest… Continue reading

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Housing would cut number of B.C.’s vulnerable re-admitted to hospital: study

New SFU work shows just how costly frequent hospitalization is to the province’s health care system

Disney production filming at Victoria’s Government House today

Made-for-TV movie will feature the inside of the Rockland Avenue mansion

3 dead after semi-truck collides with car on B.C. Interior highway

Police said the intersection between Highway 97 and Highway 99 would remain closed for some time

Keep your pets safe while driving

ICBC and SPCA join forces on pet safety awareness initiative

Reports of explosion in Okanagan turn out to be squirrel vs. power line

The noise was described as ‘similar to a shotgun blast’ that shook the Earth

Most Read