B.C. Ferries’ CEO said while there are many people who view B.C. Ferries in a positive light, the corporation knows it needs to do better. (NEWS BULLETIN file photo)

B.C. Ferries aims to improve passenger perceptions

CEO acknowledges corporation is sometimes seen in a negative light

B.C. Ferries has a perception problem and it knows it.

That was the message from Mark Collins, the company’s president and chief executive officer, to members of the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce last week.

Collins told an audience of roughly 100 people on Feb. 14 that B.C. Ferries is one of the most recognizable brands in the province, but it is also perceived in a negative light by many.

“When you look at the strongest brands in the world, what you find is, not only do people like the brand, the product, the service, but they align their values with those brands, in other words, they love them,” he said. “We are below average when it comes to people’s values aligning with ours.”

Collins, who has been president of B.C. Ferries for less than a year, said despite having one of the best safety records in the world and strong on-time performance, people’s experience is often driven by fares and personal experiences of delays or cancellations and that they often feel B.C. Ferries is out to inconvenience them.

“People have a view that B.C. Ferries is out to do it to us again. That B.C. Ferries must be in it for themselves, not in it for us, not in it for travellers, not in it for British Columbia, but in it for themselves,” he said. “This is a problem.”

RELATED: B.C. Ferries CEO says new reservation system will improve efficiency

Around $7-8 billion worth of cargo is transported between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland each year accounting for around $90 million in revenue annually, according to Collins, who said the perception from many people in the business community has not always been positive.

Collins said while there are many people who view B.C. Ferries in a positive light, the company knows it needs to do better. Ways to do that, he said, are to listen to people before making decisions, improve the experience onboard and promote values that focus on the community.

“We have to demonstrate that we are open and that we are listening,” he said.

Speaking to the News Bulletin afterward, Collins said one area that needs improving is the onboard wifi service. He acknowledged that their current wifi system does not meet passengers’ expectations but hinted at possibly implementing a satellite wifi system that could accessed for a fee.

“It would be a premium paid service, like on airplanes,” he said.

Collins said all the extra “cruise ship” style amenities and the company’s extra services such as their vacation service and the restaurant help keep fare costs down. He said B.C. Ferries wants to hear from passengers about how the onboard experience can be improved.

“I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but we haven’t always done that and we want to do that now,” he said.

B.C. Ferries is always exploring ways to add alternate revenue sources according to Collins, who said some possibilities could include a store highlighting B.C. wines, but he ruled out any plans to install onboard casinos.

“We don’t favour gaming onboard right now. We are a family service and we think the headaches and lack of return and the other problems that go along with it are incompatible with the kind of service that we offer. It’s risk that I don’t think ferry users would want us to take,” he said.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Chilliwack hopes to re-start public consultation

A new survey asks residents if they’re ready to discuss projects not related to COVID-19

UPDATE: Missing girl in Chilliwack’s Promontory neighborhood found

A 13-year-old child was missing from early Monday morning to 4:30 in the afternoon

Missing Richmond man last seen in Chilliwack

Shawn Johnson last seen on June 30 on Main Street

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Eagle Landing

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

Abbotsford man wins $1 million in Lotto 6/49 draw

Kenneth Giffen wins prize after deciding to stop in Agassiz gas station after fishing trip

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

VIDEO: Former Abbotsford resident giving away $1,000

Langley native Alex Johnson creates elaborate treasure hunt to give away cash

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

UPDATE: Abbotsford shooting victim was alleged ‘crime boss,’ according to court documents

Jazzy Sran, 43, was believed to have been smuggling cocaine across the border

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Most Read