Islander submits invoice for lost time to BC Ferries

On October 21, BC Ferries received an invoice for $5,747.74 submitted by Maureen Nicholson on behalf of Bowen Island residents who have lost valuable time due to the overload situation and late departures that stem from the replacement of the Queen of Capilano by the smaller Bowen Queen during the Capilano's annual refit. The document bears the title: Bowen Ferry Victim Impact Invoice and Nicholson has chosen the hourly rate of $41.50 for the 138.5 hours that have been reported lost by 22 travellers on the Bowen Queen in the week of October 15?19. She also states that this is a fraction of the number of people affected.

The documents explains the accounting and includes entries like: "missed one dentist appointment, two strategic planning meetings at work, an interview in which I was the person to interview the candidate." Another account reads: "My child goes to school in West Vancouver and has after-school activities which finish at 4 p.m., getting us to the ferry terminal at about 4:15. Inevitably, we are on the 5:30 that is only coming in at 6. At one time, this ferry only left at 6:30 because the 5:30 run was cancelled due to lateness of ferry. Every morning we leave half an hour earlier to make the 7:30 ferry, that means I have an eight-year-old waking up at 5:45 to leave the house by 6:15 to get onto the ferry and only arriving home at about 8 p.m. when we still need to wash, have dinner and get to bed. Yes, we do homework in the 'comfort' of our vehicle while waiting for the ferry." One of the persons reports having lost a job due to ferry delays. Another comment reads: "The excess overload volume is one factor, but the performance of the Bowen Queen itself and the closure of Horseshoe Bay berth #2, make estimating the time of one's departure and arrival virtually impossible to work out. This is a totally unacceptable level of service in a developed nation.Thumbs down."

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Nicholson believes that BC Ferries need to learn about those and other stories in order to understand that behind every statistic, there is a face.

Asked whether she believes that she will receive a cheque, she laughs and says, "Wouldn't that be a nice surprise?" She also draws attention to a line on the invoice that says that the payment should be sent to the Bowen Island Municipality with the following note: "Please specify on the cheque that payment is a contribution to community grants."

Since submitting the invoice, Nicholson said that a number of people have added their own hours, proving that losing time to overload situations cannot be counted as isolated incidents for Bowen Islanders.

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