B.C. to restrict ferry rate increases

A BC Ferries vessel leaves Tsawwassen terminal on its way to Vancouver Island.

A BC Ferries vessel leaves Tsawwassen terminal on its way to Vancouver Island.

VICTORIA – BC Ferries fare increases will be limited to 4.15 per cent on all routes for 2012-13, according to legislation introduced Tuesday by the B.C. government.

A preliminary ruling by the B.C. Ferry Commissioner this spring indicated fares could rise by more than eight per cent on smaller and northern ferry routes next spring. The legislation caps increases on all routes to the limit that was set for major routes serving Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said the rate cap gives the new B.C. Ferry Commissioner time to complete a review of the Coastal Ferry Act before he makes a final decision on rate caps for the next four years.

Gord Macatee, the long-time civil servant who took over as B.C. Ferry Commissioner this year, expects to complete his review and make recommendations to the government by early 2012.

NDP ferries critic Garry Coons called the rate cap for next year “insignificant” after years of increases that have fallen more heavily on the smaller routes. The B.C. Liberal government’s mandate for ferries has resulted in the doubling of some fares in the last eight years, he said, and now Premier Christy Clark is considering a possible fall election.

“It seems to be an easy out for the minister and this government to roll this off until after the election,” Coons said. “And then knowing what they’ve been doing and how they’ve been operating with BC Ferries, they’ll jack up the fares after that.”

The Coastal Ferry Act currently requires BC Ferries to reduce the subsidy paid to keep smaller ferry routes running, and prevents BC Ferries from using revenue from its large, busy routes to support service to smaller islands and communities.

Lekstrom has said the ferry rate review will focus on affordability for ferry users and the impact of rates on tourism and other business in ferry-dependent communities.

The review will not affect the next increase, which takes effect June 1. A fuel surcharge of 2.5 per cent is being added on the three major routes serving Vancouver Island, and the rest of the routes will see a five per cent fuel surcharge.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aerial view of the Capital Regional District residuals treatment facility at Hartland Landfill where residual solids are turned into Class A biosolids. (Photo courtesy CRD)
Plant closure sends more biosolids to Hartland Landfill

Saanich residents are concerned they were never consulted

Sgt. Sandrine Perry in the Oak Bay Police Department interview room that has been softened with household features to better accommodate survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay police interview room gets a makeover

Room made less daunting for victims of trauma

Paul Lewis is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Arts Advocate of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore driftwood sculptor inspired by Esquimalt Lagoon

Paul Lewis is the 2021 Arts Advocate of the Year

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read