DIEPPE, N.B.–Marine Atlantic recently announced it will hold a stakeholder meeting in Atlantic Canada to discuss the potential return of a reservation system.
Marine Atlantic shelved their reservation system due to the chaos it created within the trucking industry and for Newfoundland and Labrador residents.
“We are very surprised that they are looking at reinstating a reservation system because the service today is good; it has improved,” said Jean-Marc Picard, Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association [APTA] executive director. “The last time we had a reservation system, it was poorly executed and failed at all levels.
“They would have more reasons to stay away from a reservation system at this point.
At present, numerous delays are related to poor weather conditions or mechanical issues, which will still occur with our without the already suspended system. Furthermore, Marine Atlantic Inc. currently have a reservation system, Premium Bookings, that is seldom employed, according to Picard.
“The APTA took a vote in 2010 and recommended that Marine Atlantic suspend the reservation system because it wasn’t serving its purpose, it cost the trucking industry thousands of dollars and it did not respond to the market demand in Newfoundland,” said Picard. “Now they want to try it again but I would caution them because things are good right now.”
The APTA has also expressed concerns that Marine Atlantic Inc. has informed the trucking industry that they may go to a three-vessel service as early as 2016, which would result in the elimination of the Argentia ferry service.
“With the growth Newfoundland and Labrador is seeing and the need for [quality] service for goods on the island, a three-vessel operation, with service to Argentia, would elevate the risk of a potential service disaster, not only for us, but for tourism and the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador,” Picard said.
Losing a vessel would also result in the loss of revenue for MAI and a potential rate increase for both the tourism and trucking industries, Picard reported, adding that the impact on Newfoundland and Labrador could be tremendous and the province will pay for this increase.
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