Summer 2017 : an operational tale of woe

BC Ferries’ quarterly operations report for July-September 2017 reveals just how much the extra vehicle traffic on our ferry last summer impacted on the quality of service provided.

Compared to the same period last year, our ferry carried 6,000 extra vehicles and more than 13,000 extra passengers, making Summer 2017 the busiest since 2010 – despite the fact that we now have two less departures each day.  According to BC Ferries’ statistics, vehicle occupancy reached 70% for the first time ever – though this measure uses BCF’s new calculation of vehicle space – but even against Quinsam’s “old” capacity of 70 AEQs, this equates to 63% of deck space used – the highest quarterly average ever recorded on the route.

But, as we found out, this extra traffic led to more delays and more overloads. Now we can see just how bad things were. As the first chart shows, on-time performance slumped to the lowest ever recorded – with just 76.9% of sailings leaving within ten minutes of scheduled time. That’s even worse than we saw in summer 2014, when our ferry service was reduced and the initial schedule was acknowledged as “unworkable” by BC Ferries. ontimeSummer 2017 also saw a huge rise in the number of overloads – increasing by a staggering 50% since last summer, with 15.5% of all sailings reported as overloaded. That’s the equivalent of 30 overloads every week, the majority of which occurred on weekdays, often over several consecutive departures.pverloadsThe full quarterly report can be downloaded here from the Ferry Commission’s website.

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