Monday, October 5, 2009

Please excuse the mess, we're building the future...

I live in Vancouver but most of my family, the dog notwithstanding, live on the island. Nanaimo, Victoria, Campbell River. I make trips to said island many times in a year. Let's face it, much of my life has been spent plying the waters of Georgia Straight aboard a BC ferry. Any trip I took as a kid or as an adult, began with a wait in a ferry line-up or aboard one of the ships that make up the magical fleet.
I am a simple man, with few desires, save for world peace and the odd sexual encounter. That said, being a frequent rider of this ferry system makes me fantasize about murder, torture and mayhem.
I have grown up with this obtuse system, as someone grows up with the family mutt or Disney characters.
As citizens of this province we are constantly told that we have one of the best ferry systems in the world. I guess that just falls under our tell-all heading of 'best place on Earth'. Maybe we are just too busy telling ourselves how fucking great we are to see that the ferry system is run like a bake sale or a grade school car wash trying to raise a few bucks for the volleyball team.
Seriously folks, take a ride on another ferry system and then come back and ride this one. You'll feel like the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ride at Disneyland is a tighter run ship. Hell, I bet there are ships in Greece that are in better shape than this outfit. The Greeks are known for a lot of decent things, like democracy and philosophy, but they are also known for ships that sink. Just sayin'.
What am I complaining about, you ask? Here's just a few examples...
1. There seems to be a lot of money and resources to build and maintain infrastructure that will make the corporation money in return. I speak of gift shops, kiosks, Starbucks, Bread gardens, White Spots, the list goes on. All of these things are constructed in record time, under budget , blah blah blah. Why can't the same be said of other projects? The terminals are in a constant state of repair it seems. I am always being directed out of the terminal, into the rain or cold, to wait in a fucking tent or something because the terminal is being rebuilt for like the fifth fucking time in ten years. Do you think it is possible that someone who is in the planning department could have the sense to look further ahead than two years? Come on, people...
2. The spaces allotted for parking your car, to walk on the ferry, are full half the time. I know we all wish it was still 1982 and 'The kid is hot tonight' was still on the charts, and there was still only 250,000 people living on the island. But now, unfortunately, there are half a million people on the island, Loverboy is playing the Riverock, and people need somewhere to park their fucking cars. The 'lot full' sign is up and down more often than a whore's droors on payday. Get a clue. Build a parkade for 2009 levels. How many trips to Horseshoe Bay or Tsawwassen do I have to make, only to realize they only have enough parking for a few schmucks? Hey, BC ferries! Ever wonder why half the passengers are rude and ignorant? That's because they missed the ferry while trying to park their car 2 miles away, and then run with all their luggage to the terminal, only to be treated with contempt by your overpaid, underworked staff. 
3. The food that is being served on these ferries is atrocious. Is this a Russian gulag? Is this Guantanamo bay? Am I in the hospital?Can I get something to eat on this ship that won't make me instantly barf or shit in my pants? I know the 'White Spot' got the contract for the ferries because they contributed money to the BC liberals' campaign, along with the Bread Garden and their $7 cardboard sandwiches. I guess I could go to the 'Pacific Buffet' and eat overpriced, overcooked shite for more money than it cost to get on this 3 hour tour. Besides, I might not fit in up there without my 'God bless America' t-shirt or my PGA tournament cap.
All I want is something healthy to eat. (mealy, over ripe apples and bruised bananas not included.)
And then there are the constant announcements over the PA system telling passengers to basically eat and get out because there are more pigs at the trough that need somewhere to sit to ingest their foul meal. 
And by the way, $9 for a stale sandwich and a small coffee is tantamount to high seas piracy. We, the people, should keel-hull you bastards for this. And if you don't know what that is, see Mutiny on the Bounty. And not the new one, with that misogynistic, anti-semite Mel Gibson. See the old, black and white one, with Brando. 
4. I don't know who the architects or engineers are who plan out how these terminals will actually work, but please do not put them in charge of anything that may fall down, like a bridge, or an overpass. 
At each terminal, there is plenty of space for vendors hawking fucking t-shirts and beanie babies but all the passengers stand out in the rain, waiting to but a ticket. I have experienced this at Swartz Bay, Horseshoe bay, Departure Bay. Two out of three of these terminals have recently undergone major renovations. (Surprise!) At the Departure bay terminal, there is a huge waiting room with bank style divider ropes to delineate which way the sadsack passengers will line up. Well, the ropes are all closed off, the huge room is empty, and all the passengers are directed to line up out the door, in the fucking rain! The same is true at the freshly renovated Tsawwassen terminal. Huge new terminal and everyone is huddled outside in the cold, waiting to buy tickets. What the fuck is wrong with you people? I could design a better system with some 2x4's and traffic cones and tarpaulins.
And the line-up goes out the door and crosses the path of the arrivals, causing snarls between passengers at that point. Could anything really be more pathetic and futile than this system you have in place? Are we ready for the Olympigs? Hardly. What an embarrassment.
Last, but not least, is the man who is in charge of all this forward thinking regarding 'one of the best ferry systems in the world'. David Hahn. Ah yes, what a union busting, arrogant, ignorant, near sighted, blithering bloody idiot. Whatever they are paying you, David, it is too fucking much. 
I wanted to make a complaint, but the 1-800 number directs me to the website, which is, you guessed it, under renovation. Thank you for choosing BC Ferries. Your only other choice is to swim.

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