Wednesday, April 21, 2010

BC Ferries still has fence mending to do on Haida Gwaii

Answering the mail and offering up a reply might go a little ways to making Haida Gwaii residents feel as though BC Ferries is taking an interest in their concerns.

Until then it seems that the province's ombudsman is going to be on the special delivery list from the Islands, with elected municipal officials in Port Clements leading the parade of those with concerns to air as they vent their many frustrations to the Queen Charlotte Islands Observer.

In an article posted to the papers website on Wednesday, the Observer provides some background on the latest concerns of those on the Islands, as the issues of confusion over pricing and a lack of communication once again come back to haunt the Ferry corporation.

Port to involve ombudsman on Ferries issue 
Queen Charlotte Islands Observer 
April 21, 2010

Port council members continue to be frustrated with BC Ferries, and this time are taking their complaint to the provincial ombudsman. Problems with ferries came up when council met Monday night.

Mayor Cory Delves said that he personally just had an issue a week ago. He told council that oversize vehicle rules changed when ferries brought in its new vessels, but nobody told him, at least not until last week.

 He was parked in the oversize line in Prince Rupert, having bought a ticket for an oversize vehicle, when a ferries employee asked him what he was doing there.

 "I believe that BC Ferries should be making it more clear to people of the change," Mr. Delves said, "Not a single BC Ferries person except this one clued into the fact that I was not oversize."

 He said the savings for the one way sailing alone amounted to $210.

 Mr. Delves also complained that no one checks reservations at the Skidegate ferry terminal to ensure they are correct, nor is there a local phone number to call where questions could be answered.

 He also noted that the owners of smaller vehicles (a Jeep or a Smart car, for example) pay the same for a regular ticket as the owners of full-size (but not oversize) pick up trucks. Other councillors shared their own ferry beefs. "Ferry rates have been so expensive.

To bring a camper over here, the cost deters people from coming," Councillor Wally Cheer said, "a fifth-wheel trailer, you are looking at 1200 to 1500 bucks just to get on and off the island.

Who's going to pay that?" "We are agreed that the rate system is completely out of whack," Councillor Stephen Foster said, and Councillor Cam Traplin agreed. "Our major problem is the rates, they are so screwed up," he said, "every time I go over, I get rooked."

 Council decided to write to the ombudsman and to Ferries, complaining about the fare structure and that a previous letter to Ferries about fares has never been answered.

1 comment:

faehren said...

People opt for ferry travel, as it is cheap, saves time and well connected.