BC Ferries says they have put forward plans to the province’s ferries commissioner that could see changes to ticketing and boarding if approved.
The say the major terminal efficiencies application would see shortened ticketing and check-in times, contactless journey for foot passenger travel and an express lane check-in at the terminals for pre-paid reserved customers and vehicles.
According to the application, it would include pre-gate vehicle identification using license plate recognition and vehicle measurement, upgraded kiosks, fare gates, passenger validators and a terminal planning and management information system.
The changes would come to the company’s five major terminals: Duke Point, Tsawwassen, Horseshoe Bay, Departure Bay and Swartz Bay.
The ferry company adds employee experience and workforce issues, combined with complaints (12,881 received in 2021), a need to further digitize the travelling experience and increases in the number of travellers are driving the need.
Over 16.5 million passengers and 6.8 million vehicles travelled through BC Ferries’ major terminals last fiscal year.
Under the Coastal Ferry Act, BC Ferries cannot spend more than $25 million without the permission of the commissioner, and the commissioner must respond to the application in two months.
The project would be implemented over four years. They expect foot passenger travel enhancements at Tsawwassen and vehicle express lanes at Departure Bay to be running in fall 2024.
The rest of the terminals will be finished by fall 2027.
The application can be found here and is open for public feedback until July 5.