No more cuts to BC Ferries routes, subsidy

Subsidy was increased to $180 million a year when route cutting began, Ottawa asked to pitch in more

Transportation Minister Todd Stone

The province’s $180 million annual subsidy to BC Ferries may go up in the future, but it won’t be reduced in the years ahead, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Wednesday.

Stone said he’s encouraged by BC Ferries Commissioner Gord Macatee’s decision to set rate increase caps of no more than 1.9 per cent for the next four years. That’s a quarter of the rate increases that were being considered before BC Ferries cut 7,000 low-performing sailings from its fleet and pursued other cost-cutting measures, Stone said.

Despite those sailing cuts, which took effect in April 2014, total passenger volume on the BC Ferries fleet is up slightly in the current year. The increase on major routes is 0.64 per cent year-to-date, which doesn’t sound like much but is substantial on the high-volume routes, Stone said.

The increase comes after a long decline in BC Ferries ridership that started with the U.S. financial crisis in 2008.

Stone also ruled out closing one of the two large ferry terminals at Nanaimo, despite Macatee’s instruction to BC Ferries to explore that option. He left open the possibility that the Crofton terminal for Saltspring Island passengers could be combined with either the Nanaimo or Duke Point terminal.

Stone said he is in discussions with the federal government to increase its subsidy to BC Ferries, which is substantially lower than East Coast ferries, and to review minimum crew requirements set by Transport Canada.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Don’t take hair into your own hands, urge Okanagan stylists

New Vernon shop expects high demand come May, since opening delayed

Virtual physio connects patients with Vernon practitioners

Many local physiotherapists are ready to assist, online

Burning permits doused in pair of North Okanagan electoral areas

Regional District of North Okanagan Areas B and C cancel permits to combat COVID-19 virus

Vernon, Kelowna denturists hit hard amid COVID-19

Okanagan denture clinics wonders if they’ll ever be able sustain the sting of pandemic

No need to press the walk button at Vernon crosswalks

City automating intersections in response to COVID-19

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

COLUMN: Plenty of online reading options

Libraries are closed due to COVID-19 but downloads are available through Okanagan Regional Library

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read