B.C. Ferries is looking to update and upgrade its fleet and wants to ask ferry riders about some of the ways to go about doing that.
The ferry corp announced in a press release 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, B.C. Ferries president and CEO, said in the release that the corporation wants to hear people’s thoughts on the project and their ideas 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,” he said.
Ferry riders are being asked for their feedback on potential improvements to accessibility, food and beverage services and seating, children’s play areas, pet areas, new technologies and more.
The ferry corp said its technical teams are identifying ways to minimize underwater noise and environmental impacts. It is also looking at 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.”
B.C. Ferries said ship acquisition, as a major capital expenditure, requires approval of the B.C. Ferries Commissioner. If that approval is granted, a contract to build the new vessels could be awarded next year.
Public engagement continues until April 12 online at this link.