BC Ferries is looking to update and upgrade its fleet and wants to ask passengers about how to make ferry trips better.
The quasi-Crown corporation announced in a news release Tuesday that public engagement is now underway as part of a project to replace four existing vessels with up to five new ones.
The new ferries would service routes between Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver, replacing the Queen of Cowichan, Queen of Alberni, Queen of Coquitlam and Queen of New Westminster.
Mark Collins, BC Ferries president and CEO, said the corporation wants to hear people’s thoughts andideas about how to improve the travelling experience.
“There is still a lot to be decided as we work to keep fares affordable, reduce our environmental impact, plan for future flexibility and enhance the onboard experience for customers,” Collins said.
The public is being asked for feedback on potential improvements to accessibility, food and beverage services and seating, children’s play areas, pet areas, new technologies and more.
BC Ferries is also identifying ways to minimize underwater noise and environmental impacts, as well as operational needs around vessel sizes and capacity, speed and manoeuvrability and other requirements.
“One of the complexities of designing a new ferry is working within weight, space and cost restrictions,” said Collins. “This means we need to carefully think through each aspect of the design.”
Ship acquisition, as a major capital expenditure, requires approval of the BC Ferries Commissioner. If granted, a contract to build the new vessels could be awarded next year.
Public engagement is on until April 12 at this link.