Minister Stone still not available to talk ferries

  • Wed Jan 8th, 2014 7:00pm
  • News

Transportation Minister Todd Stone was not available to speak to the Observer this week as usual, but his office has supplied answers to a couple of the questions that we asked. One of our questions was whether there is any possibility that the ferry service reductions announced by the Ministry of Transportation in mid-November will be reversed. The Ministry replied that it is committed to saving $18.9 million though service reductions, and that the government and BC Ferries will be reading a report that summarizes the input received during the public consultation process in November and December. We also asked why the inland ferry routes are free, while passengers on coastal ferry routes have to pay, a question that has been asked by many British Columbians in recent months. According to the Ministry, the two systems receive similar taxpayer contributions. The provincial government provides $23 per vehicle on the coastal system and $18 per vehicle on the inland system. However, the cost of providing coastal ferry service is more than $740 million a year, while the inland system costs about $23 million a year. The coastal ferries are larger and more expensive to run, because they need more crew and more fuel, and service longer routes through tougher weather conditions.