By Roy L Hales
Many British Columbians have been disappointed with BC Ferries since the Liberal Government privatized the corporation in 2003. As the National Post pointed out, operating costs have “ballooned by more than $20-million a year, fares have risen by as much as 100%, and as per one recent study, the combined effect has sapped an incredible $2.3-billion out of the coastal economy.” However there was some good news this morning. Thanks to the drop in world oil prices, BC Ferry fares will not rise this spring.
The province’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister, Todd Stone, released a press release stating:
“Ferry passengers will see no change to the cost of taking a ferry on April 1 thanks to the benefit of low fuel prices, which will offset the annual fare increase of 1.9%. BC Ferries’ announcement this morning is good news for their customers and for the communities that rely on our coastal ferry service.
“We know the importance of fare affordability to coastal communities. Over the last number of years, we have worked closely with BC Ferries to control costs and find efficiencies. The work we’ve done and important decisions we’ve made together have paid off, with the BC ferry commissioner setting price caps of 1.9% for each of the next four years – the lowest they’ve been in a decade.
“And now because of the collective work that’s been done to limit the pressure on fares, BC Ferries can fully offset this year’s 1.9% fare increase by passing along the fuel savings.
“The rebound in BC Ferries’ traffic numbers also continues. Since April 2015, both vehicle traffic and passenger traffic are up by about 4% compared to the same period the year before. With lower fuel prices and the low Canadian dollar continuing to attract American tourists, we are encouraged that this trend will continue.
Photo Credit: BC Ferries MV Queen of Nanaimo by Andy S via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)