Another fuel surcharge on the ferry

  • Jun. 21, 2006 3:00 p.m.

Get ready to open your wallet wider when you book a ferry trip. BC Ferries has hiked its fuel surcharge again, for third time in less than a year, due to the continued rising cost of oil.
The latest increase brings the total fuel surcharge to almost 10 percent on northern and smaller routes, and 3 percent on the major routes. For passengers traveling between Skidegate and Prince Rupert, that means the combined surcharge will now add $3.95 to the price of a one-way ticket, and $14.65 to the fare for an underheight vehicle.
On the Kwuna route, the surcharge adds 90 cents to a child or adult fare, and $2.40 on top of the underheight vehicle fare.
BC Ferries spent $75-million on fuel in its latest fiscal year, up from $50-million the year before.
In his decision approving the latest surcharge, Ferry Commissioner Martin Crilly said that the northern routes have “a more negative, uncertain outlook” compared to the other routes, and warns that these routes may be subject to additional fare increases in the future.
Although BC Ferries is spending much more on fuel, it is using less, with actual fuel consumption falling to 118 million litres in the past fiscal year, down from 125 million litres in 2002-03.
As required by the ferry commission, the company has submitted a plan for reducing fuel consumption even further, by 1-percent this year and another 1-percent next year. According to the fuel savings plan, this will be accomplished by replacing old engines with new engines, replacing propellers, hull resurfacing to reduce friction on some vessels, and schedule changes to allow vessels to operate at slower speeds.
This latest fuel surcharge takes effect Thursday June 22.