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

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

Second Vernon-area high school exposed to COVID-19

Kalamalka Secondary School staff, students urged to self-isolate if showing symptoms

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

COVID-19: Changes at Knox Mountain, Canyon Falls, park washrooms in Kelowna

Park washrooms open with extra cleaning on April 1; Knox Mountain Drive, Canyon Falls remain closed

Community newspapers bring people together in time of isolation

Black Press offices have been receiving calls of support, appreciation

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Corona Busters’: Vernon man drives vintage ambulance in appreciation of health-care workers

Rob Newport says he aims to make people smile during the COVID-19 pandemic with Ghostbusters-themed ride

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Most Read