Thursday, October 4, 2012

Negative reviews from some for BC Ferries fare increase plans

Earlier this week BC Ferries was given approval by the BC Ferries Commission to implement a fare increase totalling 12 per cent over the next three years.  A move that as would be expected, isn't exactly getting almost a universal endorsement across those parts of the province that rely on ferry service.

The increases will come in yearly increments with 4.1 percent allowed on April 1, 2013, 4 percent on the same date one year later, followed by a 3.9 percent increase in 2015.

In a story in the Tyee, Andrew MacLeod outlines that since 2003 the cost of riding the B C Ferries has increased by 47 percent on the major routes and an astounding 80 percent on the Norther routes and other coastal routes.

And  as MacLeod details in his story, despite that cash injection its estimated that BC Ferries will still require some 54.2 million dollars in cuts over the four year performance term.

The latest increase to the cost of travel along the B. C. coast, comes amid concerns about the future of the service and the seemingly never ending spiral of costs associated with it.

Gary Coons, the outgoing NDP MLA for the North Coast (he will be retiring prior to the next election) and long time critic of the Liberals handling of the Ferries file, was, as could be imagined, less than impressed with the latest increase, offering up his thoughts that the increase will have a large impact on coastal communities.

At the heart of the discussion going forward will be the required decision as to whether BC Ferries is an essential transportation link for the province, requiring subsidies to keep it as affordable as possible, or if it is just another transportation option, one where the financial picture will ebb and flow with the marketplace it serves and dependant on a financial plan that can fund it.

The decision by the BC Ferries Commission is providing for much in the way of discussion this week over the fate of the Ferry Service, the recent developments can be found below.

The Northern View-- BC Ferry Commission releases decision on cap for price increases
Vancouver Sun-- B. C. Ferry Commission to allow rate hikes up to 12% over three years
Vancouver Sun-- Ferry rates are going up again. As they should
Vancouver Province-- BC Ferries to hike fares 12% over three years
Vancouver Province-- BC Ferries nets $3.3 million in first quarter earnings
Vancouver Province-- Latest ferry fare hikes make waves
Vancouver Province-- Bigger subsidy, not higher fares, needed
Vancouver Province-- B. C. Ferries more like 'boutique tourist operator' than service to core customers
CBC-- BC Ferries advisor slams fare hikes
CTV BC-- BC Ferries announces 12 per cent rate hike
CTV BC-- BC Ferries facing rough financial seas
National Post-- Nothing B. C. Ferries does will turn struggling ship around
Globe and Mail-- BC Ferries allowed to raise fares by 12 percent by 2015

Past North Coast Review Items on BC Ferries can be found below:

BC Ferries increase no April Fools Day joke

Background on previous items regarding the fate of BC Ferries can be found as follows:

The Northern View-- Ferry fare caps allow major hikes in years ahead
Vancouver Sun-- Ferries debate hinges on affordability
Vancouver Sun-- The future of B. C. Ferries: tough decisions needed to stay financially afloat
CTV BC-- BC Ferries cuts 98 sailings to reduce costs
The Tyee-- As BC Ferris lost money and traffic, executives got bonus bump
The Tyee-- Public ferry process aimed at finding $30 million in cuts, says minister
The Tyee-- More ferry consultation delays fixing problems: NDP's Coons
The Tyee-- BC Ferries passenger traffic dropped to lowest level in 21 years

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