Over 600,000 people call Vancouver Island home, and the majority of those people rely on ferries that run back and forth from the mainland on a daily basis. As BC Ferries is a Crown Corporation (meaning it is government owned, but run like a private business, in that it has no obligation to inform the public of every little move it makes), it has not been required to keep the people as informed as a government owned business would. This hasn’t stopped the Ferry system from making its presence known on social media sites, or trying to keep customers informed of exactly what to expect in regards to the ferry schedule.
Data will be gathered thanks to GPS tracking devices installed on each ferry, with updates occurring every two minutes. Not exactly real-time GPS tracking, but it still provides ferry riders with useful information. Customers can head to the BC Ferries website to see the list of ferries operating that day by name showing their destination, speed, and heading. If the information is accessed with a desktop computer, the user can position the mouse over any of the ship icons on the map (which is an arrow that points in the direction of the ship’s heading) and all of the ship information pops up. There is a mobile interface as well, but it doesn’t have the same pop-up menu feature. If you wish to see a ship’s ETA, there is a separate section of their website designated for that information.
The availability of this GPS tracking information is great news for anyone who uses BC’s ferries, and will help keep customers informed of any mechanical troubles or inclement weather. Just think: you are getting ready to leave for work and check the ferry’s ETA, only to see that it is temporarily down for maintenance. The site says exactly when to expect service to return as usual, so you are able to call your boss ahead of time, rather than from the station, and you can wait right at home instead of in an uncomfortable seat in the waiting area.
Is the addition of fleet tracking devices to the ferries just not enough for you? Receive alerts on the status of departures via BC Ferries’ Facebook page or Twitter account and cover all the bases of staying informed up-to-the-minute.