BC Ferries to deploy Bowen Queen during peak seasons
After hearing Vesuvius-Crofton customer concerns with overloads that affected their travel experience, BC Ferries met with Salt Spring community members in August to explore solutions for improvement.
As the company say in its press release, customers identified a number of common concerns, including insufficient vessel capacity, lack of customer amenities at terminals, inadequate customer information and commercial/dangerous good vehicles congesting peak time sailings. During the workshop, BC Ferries representatives and community members arrived at possible solutions and priorities for the ideas that would be most realistic to implement, while offering the greatest benefit.
As a result, BC Ferries will deploy the Bowen Queen (61 Automobile Equivalent – AEQ) on the route during peak seasons until the MV Quinsam (63 AEQ) is brought into service in a few years time. In 2020, the Bowen Queen will service the route between April and October. BC Ferries will then evaluate the service and determine the time periods that the Bowen Queen will be used in future peak seasons. The Bowen Queen can carry more standard vehicles than the Quinitsa (44 AEQ), but fewer commercial vehicles.
Other actions BC Ferries has taken include improved signage near the terminals regarding next available sailings. BC Ferries is also analyzing how and where to install webcams, and ways to provide more timely sailing information. Community representatives also asked BC Ferries to consider moving Dangerous Goods (DG) sailings to lower demand times, and this idea is being explored.
Meanwhile, terminal development plans for both Crofton and Vesuvius terminals are in progress, identifying changes that can be made at both terminals for improved customer experience for decades to come.