Something has to give on fares: BC Ferries

  • Nov. 12, 2010 9:00 a.m.

BC Ferries passengers could be facing 30 to 40 percent fare hikes over the next five years if current subsidies to northern routes remain the same. Evan Putterill, regional district director and chair of the Moresby Island Management Committee, attended a North and Central Coast BC Ferries Advisory Committee meeting on Nov. 8 and heard this message from BC Ferries staff, which he relayed to MIMIC on Nov. 10. BC Ferries said that if the Ministry of Transportation provides the same level of subsidies as it does now, Ferries will have to charge more to make up the costs for their third performance term (April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2016). BC Ferries is preparing for the third period of their 60-year contract with the Province, as per the Coastal Ferry Services Act. The third performance term renewal will outline core service levels, subsidies and fare price caps for all BC Ferries routes. BC Ferries recently sent the BC Ferries Commissioner a submission that he will use to set proposed price caps, said BC Ferries spokesperson Mark Stefanson to the Observer on Friday (Nov. 12). The company projects expenses to remain the same, but ridership to be down in the next period. Unless they can offer less services or the province provides higher subsidies, they will have to boost fares by a minimum of 10 percent every year during the third performance term . “Something’s got to give,” said Mr. Stefanson. Some of the possibilities suggested to the BC Ferries Commissioner in a recently submitted efficiency plan, include eliminating services between Mill Bay and Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island and finding alternatives for the Bella Coola to Port Hardy route. The Tsawwassen to Port Hardy route is also still on the table. Mr. Putterill, who along with Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha and Skidegate councillor Billy Yovanovich attended the advisory committee meeting in Vancouver, says coastal communities have not been consulted recently on their expectations for core services and ferry fares. “We’re pushing to get our views heard on that,” he said. Mr. Putterill said the ferries on Haida Gwaii are part of the highway and public transportation system. He said an increase in fees and reduction in service would have a devastating effect on the islands’ economy. “We need to get BC Ferries to understand how important keeping the current service levels are,” he said. “I think it is important that everyone who possibly can, voice their concern to the province.” MIMC member Gord Usher asked if the ministry in charge of BC Ferries was the same as the one in charge of the inland fresh water services. He reiterated a familiar concern that the fresh water ferries are free, but the Kwuna run and the Prince Rupert route are not. In the BC Ferries report to the commissioner, the company reported the following: in 2009/2010 the province’s share of the subsidy to the Kwuna was $3.45 million with revenues of $682,000; the provincial subsidy on the Prince Rupert-Port Hardy run was $21 million with around $5 million in revenue. The Kwuna reported a $2.7 million loss, much of it accounted for due to the major refit the boat received. Route 11 reported a $10 million surplus in 2009/2010. According to Mr. Stefanson, not all routes are subsidized. The major routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, which receive no subsidies reported a $3.9 million surplus. In all, BC Ferries reported a $3.4 million surplus on net route earnings for 2009/2010.

Just Posted

PHOTO GALLERY: Masset takes off on Terry Fox Run

More than $1,000 raised for Terry Fox Foundation

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Prince Rupert’s ferry issue is a North Coast issue, MLA Rice

Prince Rupert not alone in fight to save ferry to Ketchikan: Alaskan Rep. Ortiz

Brand new vessel for Massett Marine Rescue

The Tagwaal was unveiled to the public Sept. 6

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Most Read