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

Federal candidates talk most pressing issues in Revelstoke

Concerns include jobs, logging, climate change, affordable housing, Highway 1

Kootenay-Columbia riding candidates have Canada’s highest expense limit

Facebook data also shows who is buying ads on the social media website

Revelstoke roads and weather: avalanche control planned

Expect 20 min road closures west of Revelstoke on Oct. 21

Competition shakes up for the Okanagan Mixoff

The Okanagan Mixoff takes place Nov. 7 in Kelowna

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

South Okanagan dangerous offender guilty plea struck down

Trial delayed again because Ronald Teneycke failed to elect his choice of trial

Six bears destroyed in three days in West Kelowna

A West Kelowna business has been charged for leaving garbage around Lake Okanagan Resort

Police standoff ends peacefully in West Kelowna

A distraught man was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

Most Read