Archive: Posts about Victoria
June 17th, 2010, 9 Comments »
Last year, I was chatting with somebody from BC Ferries, and I asked why they didn’t offer internet access on their ships. I figured the service represented a big, luscious money tree for them.
Consider this math: you convince just 30 passengers per sailing to pay an average of $8 (maybe it’s regularly priced at $10, but there are subscription plans to reduce the price). That’s $240 per sailing. There are about 20 sailings a day on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route. That’s $2400 a day. Adjusting for fewer sailings in winter, that’s maybe $750,000 a year, per route.
How much does such a system cost to put in place? Surely not more than $750,000. So that’s easy money–at least $1.5 million a year in new revenue for the two major routes–after the first year.
Here’s another way to look at the math. The ferry system carries 21 million passengers a year. If they can sell wifi access to just 0.05% of those people at $10 a head, they make more than $1 million in revenue a year. That’s back of the envelope math, but I’m intentionally low-balling the numbers.
I was pitching this math to my BC Ferries friend, and they readily admitted (and unintentionally punned), “yeah, we missed the boat on that entirely”.
When we lived in Victoria and traveled to Vancouver nearly every other week, I’d have spent a small fortune on wireless internet access. That is until the iPhone’s tethering feature became available. It was truly a game-changer for my commuting time.
And it’s made BC Ferries’ announcement of free wi-fi on ferries more or less redundant. I’ll have to test drive the speed of their free service later in the summer. What are the odds that it’ll be much faster than tethering with my iPhone?
Manis and Pedis Ain’t Free
I was actually more interested to learn about the new premium services that BC Ferries is offering. I’d missed the announcement of these back in April:
Wireless Internet is the latest in a series of up-scale service announcements for the ferry corporation, which has already created a new travel wing Ã¢â‚¬â€ B.C. Ferries Vacations Ã¢â‚¬â€ as well as in-ship spa service, offering pedicures, manicures and massages. The spa service has been Ã¢â‚¬Å“really well-received by our customersÃ¢â‚¬Â and will continue on limited runs, Thursday through Monday, on the Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, said Marshall.
A manicure is $30, and a pedicure is $40, but they’re offering wi-fi for free? That’s also a little puzzling. I could see lots of business customers paying (and expensing) the wi-fi.
The cynical traveler might speculate that they’re offering it for free so that they don’t have to guarantee quality of service. Who can complain if they lose a service that they’ve been receiving for free.
Which would you rather pay for on the ferry: wifi or a mani-pedi?
9 Comments »
October 21st, 2009, 1 Comment »
For no reason in particular, lately I’ve been mentioning lost animal posters. The other day I saw a poster for a lost chinchilla named Finn. Is the name important? Do chinchillas come when they’re called?
In any case, I’d assumed that poor Finn was probably caught and consumed by a dog, coyote or particularly large cat. However, it turns out that he survived:
I appreciate that the owner went around and actually marked up all the posters with the good news. I always wonder what the success rate is on lost pets. It’s a little weird that the owner wrote the follow-up note in the first person, isn’t it? But, then, I gather chinchillas are excellent jumpers.
By the way, this is the best photo I’ve seen in Wikipedia for a while.
1 Comment »
June 27th, 2009, 7 Comments »
I assume that, given all of the lost cat posters in my neighbourhood, one of my neighbours is a werewolf. You may recall this carefully-worded poster featuring Mr. Softie. He was “heavier set”.
Yesterday I spotted a yet another new missing cat poster. Mylo (troubling spelling there) apparently a “has a ‘belly’”:
It’s charming the way the owners choose to describe their pets’ girth. Why is ‘belly’ in quotation marks, anyway?
7 Comments »
May 25th, 2009, 2 Comments »
There were several of these handmade signs posted on telephone poles down the street from our house:
I assume it’s either some inside joke, or somebody’s a little off their rocker. In case you’re wondering, ‘thorobaaads’ is a Google whack.
2 Comments »
May 5th, 2009, 8 Comments »
Last Sunday, James, Monique, Julie and I visited Sooke Potholes. It’s a regional park (there’s also a provincial park–I need to work out their relationship, geographic and otherwise) along the picturesque Sooke River, which drains into Sooke Basin just east of the little town of the same name.
The park gets its name from the potholes which dot the river’s length:
Glacial action during the last ice age 15,000 years ago is responsible for the formations, as the moving, melting ice packs stripped the surface area and carved a path deep into the natural bedrock. Huge boulders carried along by the rushing river became lodged, were swirled against the canyon walls and consequently carved out the potholes that can be seen today.
It’s an extremely popular park for swimming, as well as the moderately-dangerous activity of cliff diving. Some young person occasionally kills themselves when they misjudge a jump into one of the many pools.
The park has one other unusual feature–a kind of modern ruin. It’s the remains of a lodge that Albert Yuen started developing after buying the land in 1981:
The heavily timbered lodge, the first step of YuenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resort, still sits unfinished overlooking the Sooke River, just beyond Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. The 20-year-old structure will likely be removed because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in bad shape, Turner said.
Here are a couple of photos of the remains:
Whenever I see this site, I’m struck by how it looks, on a superficial level, much like the ruins of a 500-year-old keep.
Photos by James and Harold.
8 Comments »
April 20th, 2009, 16 Comments »
We live in Victoria, but spend a lot of time in Vancouver. For the first couple of months of this year, when teaching a course at UBC, we were over every week. I actually don’t mind the ferry ride itself. I enjoy the opportunity to get an hour of work done without the distraction of the internet.
It’s the bus trips between Victoria and Sidney and Tsawassen and Vancouver that suck hard. They’re long, tedious and you can’t really work. Plus, I’m inevitably sitting near some cell-phone-talking douchebag who wants the whole bus to know about their new Ugg boots, or whatever.
I heard about a possible new passenger ferry service between downtown Vancouver and Victoria (here’s a short piece from Global, after the ad, thanks to 8chocolate for the link). Nautisol is still in the market research stage, and we’ll probably be living elsewhere if and when they put boats in the water, but I was still intrigued. From their website:
- 90 minute travel between city centers Victoria-Vancouver
- Economy or Business Class
- E-Ticketing with multi-language function
- Kiosk ticket vending with multi-language function
- Telephone ticketing
- Terminal locations integrated with existing public and private transportation systems
- Full service terminals to include Wi-Fi, ATM and Food Kiosks
- Bicycle racks
- Shuttle Bus Services
I see somebody caught the capitalization plague.
They’re running a rather peculiar customer survey, full of push questions (“Liquid Natural Gas is the fuel used to power this ferry service. LNG is one of the safest and cleanest fuels available.”), but I’m intrigued. Two attempts at providing alternative services have failed in the past. There’s the infamous PacificCats, rusting away in North Vancouver shipyards. Before that there was the Royal Sealink Express, which I remember taking a few times as a student in the early nineties. It’s a pity that didn’t work out–it was very convenient. The last time I was in the SeaBus terminal at Waterfront station, I’m pretty sure I saw a fading Sealink brand on an office door.
I’d imagine that, at some point, there will be enough people wanting to shuttle more efficiently between Vancouver and Victoria to make such a service viable. Has that day come?
16 Comments »
April 5th, 2009, 3 Comments »
I snapped this photo of a poster in downtown Victoria. Her head doesn’t look quite right, does it?
Looks like a Photoshop Disaster, if you ask me.
3 Comments »
April 3rd, 2009, 5 Comments »
It’s never fun when somebody loses their pet, but I was struck by the careful wording on this sign that I spotted in Victoria. He’s not big or fat, he’s heavier set:
5 Comments »