Passengers watch orcas from a BC Ferries sailing. (Black Press files)

BC Ferries posts strong earnings before rate cuts

Last year highest ever for vehicle traffic, most walk-ons in 20 years

BC Ferries has reported net earnings of nearly $60 million for 2017-18, due mostly to a surge in traffic volumes for vehicles and foot passengers.

Year-end results released Tuesday included the highest vehicle traffic total ever for the fiscal year ended March 31, and the most foot passenger tickets sold in 20 years.

The earnings result is not actual profit, since BC Ferries receives a provincial payment of more than $150 million a year to meet its requirement to service smaller communities. It also gets a federal-provincial subsidy of nearly $30 million.

Even with traffic continuing strong so far this year, discounts imposed by the NDP government mean less revenue for the provincial ferry corporation. A promised 15 per cent reduction in minor route fares took effect April 1, and Vancouver Island-Lower Mainland route fares are held steady for the current year after a 1.9 per cent increase in vehicle fares last year.

Free weekday sailings for seniors were also reinstated as of April 1, reversing the previous government’s policy of charging seniors 50 per cent of the walk-on fare for Monday to Thursday trips.

RELATED: BC Ferries eliminates fuel rebate

A fuel rebate is being discontinued as of June 27. Passengers on major and minor routes will pay an additional 2.9 per cent, while northern routes will see a 1.9 per cent increase. BC Ferries decided to remove a fuel rebate that has been in place since 2016, due to the rising cost of fuel.

On a Metro Vancouver-Vancouver Island trip, the fuel surcharge will cost 50 cents more on a passenger fare and $1.70 more for a vehicle. For a northern trip, the fuel charge is 30 cents per person and 70 cents per vehicle.

Demand for BC Ferries trips has been met by additional sailings and introduction of new vessels. Total round trips were up by 1,190 compared to the previous year. Three new Salish Class vessels in service on smaller routes were built to use liquefied natural gas as well as diesel, and the Spirit of British Columbia recently returned to service after a refit that includes an LNG fuel system to reduce costs.

BC Ferries estimates that LNG fuel is 40 to 50 per cent cheaper than marine diesel, which still powers most of the fleet.

The addition of new vessels and and sailings actually reduced BC Ferries’ bottom line in 2017-18, with the additional fuel, labour and training required costing more than the extra revenues generated.

Just Posted

Muralist on board for Revelstoke’s LUNA Nocturnal Wonder festival

One of Kris Kupskay’s next projects is a mural on a 22… Continue reading

Chance of showers may not be enough to rid Okanagan of smoke

Wind and chance of thunderstorms competing factors in this week’s forecast

UPDATE: Darke Lake residents under evacuation alert

Fire crews battling wildfire in rural community west of Summerland

BC Wildfire crew rescues lost puppies

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

Casual memberships now available through the Kootenay Carshare Coop

The Kooteany Carshare Cooperative is now offering a new casual membership. Waving… Continue reading

Filmmaker captures the smoke that enveloped the Shuswap

Check out this video of the haze that blanketed Salmon Arm

Smoke looming in Okanagan could affect wine

Smoke taint could sour this years vintages if ash falls on grapes

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Cool Creek fire near Princeton grows to 6,900 hectares

The Cool Creek fire is threatening recreational homes in high elevation north west of Cathedral

Columbia Shuswap directors allocates cash to secure rail trail funding

Money will help create trail network on former Armstrong to Sicamous corridor

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Most Read