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.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Mudslides close Highway 1 between Hope and Chilliwack

Eastbound lane not expected to reopen until Saturday afternoon.

Volunteers risk their lives to save others

SAR training prepares them for the job

Many moving parts to economic development

Tourism is only part of the answer

Window art a sign of the season

B.C. artist paints windows across the province

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

This year’s event featured six stops, including viewing points and activity centres.

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

Court adjourned again for man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found

Curtis Sagmoen will appear back in court on Dec. 14

B.C. family advocating for drug decriminalization following death of son

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has noted the New Democrats would decriminalize personal possession of all drugs

God of thunder sends letter to Delta Police

Chief Neil Dubord shared a letter from Thor that included drawings of all the DPD’s vehicles

Most Read