Ferries cancels local phone number

  • Apr. 20, 2007 5:00 a.m.

BC Ferries is cancelling the Skidegate terminal’s phone number for the second time this year, after it was published in the Observer.
Islanders who need to know when the ferry is arriving or leaving must learn to call the customer centre in Victoria from now on, said Mark Stefanson, BC Ferries vice-president of communications.
“Queen Charlotte Islands residents can call 1-888-BC-FERRY,” Mr. Stefanson said. “559-8341 – that number is going to be changed.”
Mr. Stefanson said the terminal number is getting yanked because it was published in the Observer two weeks ago. BC Ferries does not want islanders using it, he said.
“We want to keep that number confidential,” he said.
He could not explain any more about why the number needs to be confidential or why it’s a problem if islanders phone the Skidegate terminal. The number connects to an answering machine which is updated with the latest information about weather delays and when passengers should check in.
Islanders have been complaining since the original number was cancelled in late January that the people answering the 1-888 number do not have fresh information.
But Mr. Stefanson said those concerns are being addressed, and that when people call 1-888-223-3779 they will have the option of getting information about departures from Prince Rupert, Port Hardy or Skidegate. If passengers call after hours, they will be connected directly with the terminal, he said.
Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha, who sits on the BC Ferries advisory committee, said Ferries has made some positive changes but with regards to cancelling the number, “I am very disappointed with the rigid attitude BC Ferries is demonstrating. They should consider keeping a local number attached to a recorder that local staff update which would include Kwuna information. BC Ferries is a service provider and needs to listen to its customers.”