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BC Ferries chief says stranded passenger could have been treated differently

A BC Ferries foot passenger purchases a ticket at the Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday, October 1, 2012.

rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

The president and CEO of BC Ferries says more flexibility could have been shown in the case of a 20-year-old customer who was stranded in Nanaimo overnight because she was 10 cents short in payment for a fare.

"Sometimes all big companies get to a place where you have your policies in place and your employees do the best job they can of following the policies, but our job is to give our front-line employees the flexibility to deal with those sorts of situations," Mike Corrigan said in an interview on Monday.

However, Mr. Corrigan pointedly noted he was standing by the ferry employee who handled the transaction.

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"I am certainly not suggesting that our employee didn't do everything they should have, but at the same time, I think we need to have a little more flexibility."

Mr. Corrigan said he was confident that there were similar situations that were handled by BC Ferries "in a way that people aren't aware of."

"When you serve 20 million passengers a year like we do and have the number of transactions we do, unfortunately there are going to be some situations that we wish could end up a little bit different than they do."

According to a CBC report, the female customer didn't have enough money left on her pre-paid BC Ferries Experience card when trying to get home from Nanaimo to Gabriola Island a week ago.

Kathy Ramsey of Gabriola Island told CBC her daughter had a small amount of cash on her but BC Ferries requires a minimum $60 to reload the card, and the attendant wouldn't make an exception.

As a result, CBC reported, the woman had to remain in Nanaimo for 24 hours until she could access a bank.

While Mr. Corrigan said he did not plan to contact the passenger, he said he knew that his company's customer-relations department had reached out to her.

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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