Published on March 13, 2013
The Princess of Acadia shouldn’t have to go back into dry dock for scheduled maintenance for another two years.
Published on June 22, 2012
The Princess of Acadia ferry will not be running starting Saturday, June 23. Bay Ferries hopes to have her back in service for Thursday June 28 but it may be longer.
Bay Ferries VP gave ferry talk at Port Days in Digby
Bay Ferries has seen modest traffic growth on the Digby – Saint John ferry run so far this year.
Don Cormier, vice president of operations for the privately owned ferry company, was speaking in Digby on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Port Days seminars at the Digby Pines Resort. Bay Ferries operates the Princess of Acadia on the Digby – Saint John run.
“2013 has been a year of modest growth so far and we are optimistic about the fall,” he told the audience.
Passengers have been down 1.3 per cent but passenger-related vehicles are up 2.4 per cent over the same period last year.
The modest growth comes from the commercial traffic, which Cormier says is up “considerably” or 17 per cent over last year.
He said a resurgence in exports of forestry products explains some of that increase but also, the Princess of Acadia missed time in May and June last year because of entanglements with fishing gear.
Cormier says Bay Ferries has increased its marketing on digital media by 20 per cent so that digital now represents 54 per cent of their marketing budget.
Using Facebook and Google they have managed to attract 600,000 unique visitors to their webpage so far this year, and they have a mailing list of 72,000.
They are also working on a new website designed to promote the commercial side of the service.
A new partnership with Irving allows passengers who book two nights accommodation in the Maritime Provinces and their ferry crossing to get a $50 gift card from Irving.
In the Digby area, the accommodation partners include the Admiral Digby Inn, the Brier Island Lodge and the Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa.
Through July and August, Bay Ferries had musicians from Musique de la Baie perform 50 shows on the Princess of Acadia. The group Accord (Kyle and Lisa Doucette) have been more than onboard as musicians but also acted as ambassadors for the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region.
The search for a new ferry for the service announced this spring is in the hands of Transport Canada.
Cormier said the federal department is working on a statement of requirements with input from Bay Ferries.
He said any new boat will have to fit with the community needs, customer needs and taxpayer needs.
The community he said wants an efficient transportation system, which supports the fishery and forestry, local businesses and tourism.
Customers are looking for an efficient service with reasonable rates, more frequent departures and faster crossings.
Taxpayers want reliability, maximum value for the money spent and maximum economic impact for the money spent.
Cormier says the new boat should be efficient to operate. It should have built-in redundancies like the Princess of Acadia which has four main engines. That allows Bay Ferries to do maintenance on the engines while the boat is still in operation and leads to increased reliability, he said.
He said the new boat should be able to do at least 14 knots or, if a two-hour crossing is desired, then 24 knots.
A new boat should also have reduced lifestyle costs, an efficient system for loading and unloading and lend itself to an enhanced on board experience for the passengers. He gave the examples of a board room for business travellers and a truckers lounge for commercial drivers.