About BC Ferries

Ferries for the Next Generation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are answers to questions we think you’re probably asking about the new vessels. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, please submit it to us at nextgenferries@bcferries.com and we'll add it to the list.

How do we procure a new ship?

We follow a formal and transparent procurement process for all our ships that is informed by global best practice. We seek competitive procurement that offers the best value for ferry users by ensuring the lowest total cost of ownership and operation over the life of our ferries.

We value local business, and BC and Canadian shipyards are always included in the procurement process and encouraged to bid. Additionally, where possible we strive to promote the use of local materials, and rely on local yards and services to maintain our ferries throughout their lifecycle.

We follow a phased approach to engage interested and qualified shipbuilders in bidding on our projects:

Phased bidding approach outline

How will procuring new vessels impact fares?

Fare affordability is one of our top priorities in this and all projects we under take. When planning for the investment in new ferries, we are doing so recognizing that ferry users fund a percentage of new investments through the fares they pay and that fares must continue to be affordable. All capital funding projects, like the new major ferries, follow a stringent due diligence review including external review by the BC Ferries Commissioner to ensure prudent and reasonable spending.

How will these new ferries impact the amount of ferry traffic in our local waters?

The new major ferries are being designed to add flexibility and standardization to our fleet within our current service schedules across all our major routes. Although we have no immediate plans to increase our sailing frequency on our major routes, we are working to ensure we can meet changing and growing demands on our system in the future.

Environmental sustainability and the mitigation of underwater radiated noise is a priority concern as we design our new ferries. Every new ferry we build will be quieter than the ones they replace, and we continue to be an active participant in efforts to understand and mitigate the effects of underwater radiated noise on the marine environment. We are making every effort to reduce the impact of our traffic on our coastal environment, now and in the future.

Will all new ferries built to service Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island follow the design decided through this project?

Yes. We will build additional ships of this same design to replace major route ferries in the future. This project represents a major step in the move to standardize our fleet.

In general, standardization helps us:

  • Dramatically improve the flexibility and resiliency of our fleet by allowing us to move vessels around to replace each other during refits, repairs, and unexpected challenges
  • Enhance safety by reducing complexity and managing risk more effectively across our fleet
  • Provide a more consistent experience for our employees and customers
  • Reduce logistical, operational, training, and maintenance costs

Are you considering electric vehicle charging onboard the new ferries?

We are leaving flexibility to incorporate EV charging in the future, but we will not be offering this amenity at the time the new ferries launch. We made this decision for several reasons, including:

  • Safety considerations and concerns regarding proper use of charging stations onboard
  • Charging an electric vehicle onboard ferries would require the use fossil fuels because power is generated by the running of the ferry
  • The amount of charge we would currently be able to offer an electric vehicle during the hour and a half to two-hour ferry ride on our major routes is minimal

Are you considering upgrades or changes to the gift shop or retail spaces?

We are looking at our gift shop using information we've gathered through extensive customer research and past experience on other ships. Based on this information we are planning to expand the gift shop to approximately 2,000 square feet in order to increase the product lines we can offer and improve our customer's' onboard shopping experience.

<< back to BC Ferries' New Major Vessels Engagement main page