B.C. seeks ways to ease ferry fare hikes

New ferries have added costs to the BC Ferries fleet. Fares are going up across the fleet

VICTORIA – BC Ferries isn’t allowed to use revenue from its busy routes to prevent steeper increases on the smaller island and northern runs.

That is one of the regulations imposed by the B.C. government in 2003 that is being reviewed by Gordon Macatee, the new B.C. Ferry Commissioner. Another is the mandate to move toward a user-pay system, which has resulted in fuel surcharges along with higher fares on BC Ferries’ 25 salt-water routes.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said he has heard loud and clear from ferry users that they’ve had enough of big increases, and he wants “a primary focus on affordability” to consider tourism and other business as well as residents.

BC Ferries CEO David Hahn has said the mandate of the quasi-independent Crown corporation and its current public subsidy could result in a doubling of rates for some routes in the coming years, and substantial increases across the fleet.

Lekstrom said he doesn’t accept that, but he wouldn’t comment on the possibility of increasing the provincial subsidy.

BC Ferries is returning to fuel surcharges in June as fuel prices have soared, and has requested rate increases for next spring. Lekstrom said the fuel surcharges will go ahead.

BC Ferries is seeking rate increases of about four per cent on major routes and eight per cent on others to take effect next year. Lekstrom said he is considering legislation to allow temporary relief before the spring legislative session ends June 2.

Macatee’s review is to be complete at the end of September.

Just Posted

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Fire near Vernon airport “not a concern”

Vernon firefighters attended the scene and found a resident performing a controlled burn

Keep an eye on this up-and-coming Vernon director

15-year-old Bowen O’Brien celebrates filmmaking successes.

Visiting author gets personal

Keri Lefave will be reading from her book, Unfinished, at the Vernon Public Library on Saturday, April 27th at 11 a.m.

Vernon poet launches new book

Kerry Gilbert’s new work, a cautionary tale through the guise of little red riding hood, will launch at the Caetani Cultural Centre’s Studio Gallery April 26 at 7 p.m.

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates stops by Okanagan café

Coates was spotted in West Bank’s Kekuli Café on April 20

B.C. women make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

The money raised was donated to former NHL player Aaron Volpatti, who is raising funds for ALS

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read