Prove the data, again

Editorial

Tuesday, June 14 2016

BC Ferries staff - VP Mark Collins specifically - said this past week the data from the ‘discount promotions’ does not support the notion that reducing fares does not increase revenue.

As Trustee Heather O’Sullivan pointed out, the discounts provided did not provide enough incentive to people with Experience Cards to change their ferry habits.

Her point is supported by the fact that BC Ferries didn’t lose ‘as much’ revenue as staff had projected it would - because the reduced vehicle fares meant people did change from being passenger-only, to taking their vehicle with them.

The main issue is that, as per usual, the promotion being put in place is one which is trying to attract new or irregular customers to travel on BC Ferries.

If BC Ferries wanted to prove the point that lower fares do not change traffic patterns, the company would sign on to what the Gabriola FAC has proposed. That particular promotion is asking for a major discount - over and above the Experience Card discount - on a sailing which gets north-end islanders home after 9:30pm at night.

The risk to BC Ferries is minimal. Those 9pm sailings are not high on the utilization scale as it is.

The benefit to BC Ferries is potentially backing up what the staff claims economists have been saying - that lowered fares do not increase traffic.