10 July 2006

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Part One:

Yesterday, our return trip on BC Ferries was made extra unpleasant by some lack of communication among several layers of Ferry staff. Now, I don't travel the Ferries all that frequently, but we have been back and forth at least a half dozen times in the past 6 months plus I have sailed the same routes many times throughout my life, but I have never seen so many people unable to get out of their vehicles (or back in). We had to all climb out the side sliding door of the van, because we did not have enough room to open our front doors.


We caught an afternoon sailing on one of the older vessels yesterday, Queen of Vancouver, which was built several years before I was born, and carries a max of 338 cars. To compare, we usually travel on the S-class vessels, such as the Spirit of Vancouver Island which carry up to 470 cars. There are four lanes on either side of the upper level of the ferry. These lanes are meant for cars. Unfortunately, many vehicles now on the road have wider wheel bases, and many of these vehicles (including double wide pickup trucks) were directed to the upper level. In fact, most of the vehicles in the outer lane on the side we were loaded were trucks wide enough that they were parked with their wheels on or over the yellow line marking the lane. It's not like they had room on the other side either -- in fact some of their passengers had to climb out drivers' doors because there were girders in the way of the doors on the passenger sides.

Whose fault is it? Was it the person selling the ticket? They are responsible for measuring the height of a vehicle -- all overheights go on the lower decks. Was it the person directing vehicles to the ferry? Or was it the people loading the vehicles into the narrow lanes? Honestly, I think they were all at fault. Someone should have noticed; someone should have communicated the problem with someone else. But more than that, the Ferry Corp. itself and its greedy need for profit is at fault. They want to pack as many vehicles as possible on each vessel, and since any damage incurred is likely to be between one vehicle and another, they don't even need to consider paying higher insurance -- they refer the drivers to ICBC and more or less say "tough shit" to their customers, who pay for the "service."

Part Two:

A few weeks ago, I registered kiddo for gymnastics camp. I was able to register online, and while I thought it was odd that summer camps were running Tuesday-Saturday, I didn't question it, especially since the confirmation email confirmed the dates (the first week being, I thought, July 11th-15th). When I phoned this morning to find out what she needed to bring tomorrow, I was told the camp had started today.


Luckily, the receptionist was able to offer a pro-rated fee for the remainder of the week, and now I know that her August camp will be Monday to Friday. But she has missed the theme announcement for the week, and she has missed the first day of making friends (first day is so critical for that). But how many other people signed up online? Will they be in the same boat? I checked today, and the dates are still wrong on the registration page. They are however correct on another schedule, linked to from an information page about the camps -- which is where I had to dig through to find out that, yes, she did need to pack a snack (no mention of anything like that in the confirmation email either). At any rate, I have contacted the director with my complaint, and we'll see how long it takes to fix the webpage. Grr. I also suggested they contact anyone else who registered online. Grr.

tags: communication, failure, customer (dis)service


pastilla said...

I gather from your latest post that the gymnastics camp continued to offer their high quality service . . . sometimes you wonder if these kinds of things are omens, you really do.

As far as ferry loading goes --- gah ---

Cheryl said...

Yeah, kiddo asked us on Thursday, "Can today be my last day?" -- how can you say no to that? Really, she is not a girl who likes structure or rules... so I don't think any camp will sit well with her.