Gabriola Route On-Time Performance

Commissioner’s Question:

On May 20, 2010, the Commissioner questioned BC Ferries about its deteriorating record of on-time performance on Route 19 (Nanaimo-Gabriola) as follows:

BCFS’ quarterly reports show the following on time performance trends on Route 19:

  • For the last four years, a consistent decline for the fall and summer quarters;
  • For the last three consecutive years, a consistent decline in the winter quarter;
  • Only for the spring quarter was there an uptick in 2009 back to 2007 levels.

Could you provide an explanation for the almost uniform trend of deterioration?

The Commissioner’s question to BC Ferries was prompted by a Gabriola resident who telephoned the Commissioner to report a particularly inconvenient delay on Route 19, and an apparent pattern of tardiness on the route.

On this website you will find a page of BC Ferries’ service quality reports to the Commission, including the measure of on-time performance.

BC Ferries’ Response:

On June 14, 2010, BC Ferries provided the following explanation to the Commission.

“The on-time performance of the Gabriola Island – Nanaimo Harbour route has been deteriorating over the past several years due to a challenging schedule that is unable to meet the traffic demand. A number of factors are affecting the MV Quinsam’s ability to maintain the posted schedule including: increase in passenger traffic and bicycle traffic volumes; peak period demand; in-dock time; and vessel speed. The MV Quinsam has just returned to the route after the second phase of its asset betterment project to prepare the 28-year old ship for another 17 years of service. This life extension project included the installation of four new propulsion systems and new propeller blades. During sea trials, the ship did not meet speed requirements and the propellers were re-pitched. While improvements were made, the ship is currently operating half a knot slower than before.

“The speed of the MV Quinsam is just one part of the equation and BC Ferries is working with the propulsion system manufacturer to rectify this issue. The company
is also reviewing its loading and unloading procedures on the vessel and terminals to
ensure maximum efficiency.”