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

Okanagan College unlocks time capsule

Items placed in 1993 and kept in capsule in library opened at special ceremony

Consultations to play a critical role in shaping proposed national park reserve

Parks Canada welcomes all respectful comments on proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park

Shootout loss for Canada West against Czech Republic

Team Canada West now looking forward to semifinal game

Penticton Legion begins process of relocating

Penticton Legion moving to new location

Update: BC RCMP confirm multiple businesses throughout province received email threats

Police Dog Service is on scene at Penticton Honda and Penticton Hyundai investigating bomb threat

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

Judge sets bail at $2.5 million in 1987 slaying of B.C. couple

William Talbott II, 55, is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Wind and cold to hit the Okanagan, Coquihalla

Cold weather is expected to wallop the valley

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Tourism minister postpones trip to China amid tensions between two countries

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly’s office says Canada and China have mutually agreed to postpone a closing ceremony next week.

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

A police spokesman said the emails were the same as those received elsewhere in North America

Most Read