Monday, September 1, 2008

Camp No Pot Luck

This extraordinary letter to the editor in the Langley Times was brought to our attention thanks to a diligent commenter. Note especially the last paragraph with which many of us can identify.

"Experience the difference." Indeed.

Ferries can’t handle emergencies

Editor: I was recently on the Coastal Inspiration ferry with my three baby girls, young niece, and much of my extended family including our children’s grandmother and their 82-year-old great-grandfather.

Unfortunately, it was the trip where there was a truck fire on the car deck.

I would like to start with compliments to the staff on board who seemed to do a good job organizing people into one area of the ship calmly. It seemed there was a lot of confusion, but the on-board staff did a good job keeping people calm.

However the rest of BC Ferries’ staff should be fired; especially whoever is in charge of emergency response.

After walking off ship, we were all corralled into a concrete area for four to five hours.

It was over one hour before anyone even came to talk to us, telling us they had no idea what was going on.

One person was handing out free water bottles and cookies — thanks; not much good for my twin one-year-old girls though. I looked around at the two-hour mark for elusive BC Ferries employees and could find none.

There were none. No BC Ferries people were with us for hours.

I called BC Ferries on my cell phone and got no further. The lady basically ignored me, and in the courtyard we sat — uninformed, with no food, no milk and no place for my kids to nap. That’s right; I called from the courtyard we were stuck in, and was still ignored with undue diligence.

By now my three girls, my niece, and my 82-year-old grandpa were all getting tired and hungry. The twins had proceeded to throw themselves on their backs on the concrete surroundings and scream. I asked everyone I could find (which totalled the cookie and water guy) “was it going to be one hour or five hours?”

The point was that, if I had some idea, I could take my family somewhere to eat. No one knew, no BC Ferries employees were to be found. All I found were some girls selling walk on tickets for the other ferries, and they were no help at all.

At the two and one-half hour mark, the spokesperson wandered back, talking about tour buses coming for people to rest in. These buses never appeared. He then disappeared again.

I found the one BC Ferries employee, the cookie and water guy again, and asked if we could just leave since my kids were now in hysterics, hungry and way over tired. He told me I might get a fine for leaving my van on the deck of the ferry.

I would like to say to BC Ferries — you terrorized my family more than the fire did.

You left my family, old and young, sitting on a concrete pad helpless, told we can’t leave, and offered nothing in the way of help.

Special high pay for special training you always claim, but when it comes down to it you suck and a private company could do no worse.

Try providing food for kids, a nap place, and let us know about how long so we can not feel stuck there helpless, with hungry screaming tired kids. It is obvious you have no plan for handling emergencies properly. How about at least one employee staying with the people for five hours?

BC Ferries, not the fire, terrorized my family, forcing us to sit in a concrete area. There were two one-year-olds, a two-year-old, a five-year-old, four adults, a grandma and our 82-year-old great-grandpa.

By the way, we were going to look at buying a cabin on the Island, but decided BC Ferries is too incompetent to depend on. Instead, we spent some time looking at the MLS website for cabins in the Interior of B.C.

Mike MacDonald,



Anonymous said...

I read this story a while back and each time I scroll past I see that no-one has commented.

I think what these people experienced and how they were treated is inexcusable. Babies, old folks.....

Mike MacDonald said...

Just found this older article again to cut and paste back to BC Ferries again.

I have written all their complaint departments, their directors, and head of safety…the Premier…

To Date, no-one has replied.

Why would they? they don’t need too as no one can touch them.

One of Campbell’s non-accountable links in government.

Mike MacDonald said...

They called, Mid Janbuary 2009 to apologize for how they treated us...