BC Ferries to cut routes and senior discount, test slot machines between Island-Lower Mainland

Lower-usage runs to be reduced on most minor and northern routes, and pilot project will test slot machines on main routes.

BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan and Transportation Minister Todd Stone take questions on ferry service reductions at the B.C. legislature Monday.

VICTORIA – Sailing cuts are coming in April to most of BC Ferries’ minor and northern routes, as the corporation looks to save $18.9 million in the next two years.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone and BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan announced the reductions Monday, along with a plan to begin charging seniors half passenger fares that are currently offered free from Monday to Thursday.

BC Ferries is also planning a pilot project with slot machines on the main routes from Vancouver Island to the mainland, to test the revenue potential. Fare increases of four per cent and 3.9 per cent are to go ahead in the next two years, but Stone said the goal is to hold future increases to the rate of inflation or less after that.

“We heard loud and clear from people in the coastal communities … that fares cannot continue to escalate as they have, and people want the ferry service to be there,” Stone said.

Ferry reductions outlined by the ministry review will go ahead in next spring, after another round of consultations with coastal communities to look for schedule adjustments to make the remaining runs serve residents as effectively as possible.

The route reductions, feedback forms and a schedule of community meetings are posted at the review website. There are no further reductions proposed for the main Vancouver Island runs, but Stone said the ministry’s target is to find another $5 million in savings on those routes following reductions last year to the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route.

The cancelled runs are mostly early morning or late evening, many with passenger loads of 20 per cent or less. The largest reduction is a one-third cut to Port Hardy-Prince Rupert run, BC Ferries’ longest and most heavily subsidized service that lost $31 million on operations last year.

Other runs being cut include Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island, Comox to Powell River, Gabriola Island to Nanaimo and Quadra Island to Campbell River.

NDP ferry critic Claire Trevena said the service reductions will have an “outrageous impact” on communities such as Quadra Island where she lives.

“We’re already seeing people leaving communities because of the cost of the ferries,” Trevena said. “We’ve seen young families go, we’ve seen businesses in trouble, and this is just going to compound that.”

Long-term strategies include converting new ferries to natural gas fuel and exploring passenger-only private service to supplement BC Ferries sailings.

 

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Opinion: The Second Street development might be a problem – but it’s not council’s problem

Reporter Kate Saylors writes about the common misconception surrounding a BC Housing development.

What’s happening for Family Day in the Boundary

Activities in and around Grand Forks offer something for everyone.

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Petition on Second Street project presented to council

Over 1,000 signatures were gathered, but staff say council can’t do much about the project.

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read