B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

One of the promises made by the NDP during last spring’s provincial election was putting a cap on BC Ferries’ rates that affect tens of thousands of people living on Vancouver Island and the many smaller islands alongside B.C.’s western coastline.

The province committed to those actions Tuesday in their 2018 budget announcement by referring to BC Ferries as part of the provincial highway system, and by agreeing to fare relief for coastal routes as of April 1, 2018.

READ MORE: Election 2017 – Parties look to change B.C.’s ferry system

READ MORE: Ferry freeze expected in the spring

“Ferry costs have skyrocketed, putting Islanders at a disadvantage that is both costly and unfair. Transportation and businesses that transport good are feeling the pinch too,” Finance Minister Carole James said.

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on all three major routes from Greater Vancouver to Victoria and to Nanaimo and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent.

Seniors will also essentially ride free Monday through Thursday, with a 100-per-cent fare discount rate in place.

The B.C. Liberal Party was first to announce potential changes to ferry rates on the eve of the 2017 election, announcing a tax break for frequent sailors as part of their “Vancouver Island” platform.

The NDP quickly followed with their own platform that also promised the key points offered up in Tuesday’s budget.

The Green Party had suggested making BC Ferries a Crown corporation at the time.


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