MLA Coons blasts government over ferry fare increases

  • Nov. 7, 2006 6:00 a.m.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons is blasting BC Ferries and the Liberal government for the fact that ferry fares have gone up by nearly 50 percent in the past four years.
Mr. Coons said the skyrocketing fares prove that the Liberals’ 2003 decision to semi-privatize the ferry corporation has been bad for BC residents.
“The Ministry of Transportation sent out a press release in March 2003 saying that the Coastal Ferry Act, which led to the so-called privatized ferry system, would mean stable rates,” said Mr. Coons, who is the NDP critic for Ferries and Ports. “An increase of nearly 50 percent is hardly stable, when you consider the inflation rate over the same period has been around 3 percent.”
The increase includes annual rate hikes, applied every year on Nov. 1 to most routes, as well as three fuel surcharges.
In November 2002, when BC Ferries was still a crown corporation, a single person driving an average car paid $32 to go from Vancouver to Victoria. The same trip now costs $47.20 – a 48 percent increase, Mr. Coons pointed out. The trip between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert has gone up by a similar percentage – from $176.25 in 2002 to $258.30 today.
“Queen Charlotte costs also continue to skyrocket out of control, as well as the cost of goods and services,” Mr. Coons said.
Mr. Coons called on Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon to re-evaluate the course BC Ferries is on, and explain to the public why the quasi-private model for BC Ferries should continue.
BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall didn’t dispute Mr. Coons’ calculations, but said all the money collected from passengers goes directly back into services.
The ferry service is spending substantial amounts on new vessels and new facilities, she pointed out. Besides having just purchased a vessel, the Sonia, to replace the Queen of the North, BC Ferries will have to spend around $4-million this winter to renovate the docks at Skidegate, Prince Rupert, Port Hardy and McLoughlin Bay to accommodate the new ship.
The three fuel surcharges account for a substantial portion of the fare increase. Ms Marshall said the cost of fuel is completely out of BC Ferries’ control.

Just Posted

Houston homicide suspect remanded in custody

A Houston man accused of the second degree murder of Elija Dumont… Continue reading

Council briefs: The Village of Queen Charlotte

More money for village in third-quarter, new equitable gift giving policy

William Griffin arrested in Houston homicide

RCMP have now arrested William Griffin, the man wanted in connection to… Continue reading

Family of Terrace man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

VIDEO: UBC exchange students offered $1,000 to help with leaving Hong Kong

The university said 31 of its students were attending four universities in Hong Kong

‘Actors can play any roles’: Debate over ‘colour-blind’ casting after Victoria lawsuit

Tenyjah Indra McKenna filed a complaint over racially-motivated casting

Infants more vulnerable to measles than previously thought: Canadian study

Babies typically don’t receive the measles vaccine until they are 12 months old

Shatner, Obomsawin among 39 inductees to Order of Canada today

Shatner is being given one of Canada’s highest civilian honours for his 60-year career

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

Teacher tells B.C. Supreme Court that student was ‘happy’ to watch smudging ceremony in classroom

Case being heard in Nanaimo over indigenous cultural practice in Port Alberni classroom

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

South Cariboo driver hits four cows due to fog

The RCMP’s investigation is ongoing

Most Read