Over the past five years, Marine Atlantic has been making significant upgrades to its service including fleet renewal, shore-based infrastructure upgrades and business process enhancements. These upgrades have been possible through a five-year, $521 million investment announced by the Government of Canada in Budget 2010.
While this five-year funding envelope expired at the end of March, a new funding investment was recently released as part of Budget 2015. This new commitment will see approximately $375 million invested to help continue the positive momentum we have been experiencing over the past few years. The largest aspect of this funding will be directed towards the purchase of the MV Blue Puttees and MV Highlanders, two vessels that joined our fleet in 2011 and have resulted in significant service improvements. Since their introduction, we have witnessed a 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction levels and our on-time performance has improved to 90 percent. Our ability to recover from weather delays has been cut in half and the capacity offered by the vessels is allowing us to carry significantly more traffic in a shorter period of time.
Our fleet’s performance has demonstrated our vessels are well-suited to meet the needs of our service. Through our customer satisfaction surveys, research and data collection, there is no doubt that we have seen improvements in all categories. With increased seating spaces available to customers, improved amenities for the use of passengers, large open vehicle decks and significantly more cabins, our vessels are designed to serve our customers’ needs.
With the recently announced extension to the MV Atlantic Vision charter agreement, we now have greater certainty for our future fleet configuration and an even stronger service to offer our customers. We look forward to the positive impact of this investment.
On behalf of Marine Atlantic, we thank the Government of Canada for their continued investment in our service, an investment that will help meet the needs of our customers for years to come.