Ferry route cuts go ahead in April

BC Ferries sailing reductions will go ahead largely as announced last year, with some "refining" to come

BC Ferries is examining its major routes from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island in search of further savings

VICTORIA – BC Ferries sailing reductions to save $18.9 million will go ahead largely as announced last year, with some “refining” to come after hearing public concerns, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Wednesday.

Stone released the final report on consultation with coastal communities, confirming that despite public objections, low-utilization sailings on minor routes across the system will be stopped by April 28. Final schedules are to be released by the end of March.

Stone said some routes have the option of eliminating mid-day sailings so they can retain early-morning and late evening routes used by people going to work or taking in events. BC Ferries will meet with community representatives to examine those options, although Stone acknowledged that union contracts restrict possible savings from splitting up the service day.

Surveys showed most opposed, but seniors will lose their long-standing free ride on Monday through Thursday sailings. BC Ferries will also go ahead with a pilot program of slot machines on one of the major routes, another idea panned by most of the public.

Stone said “tough decisions” were necessary to maintain the long-term viability of the ferry service, which has seen declining ridership, rising fares and a federal and provincial subsidy that reached $200 million this year.

“None of this should come as a surprise,” he said.

Stone cited examples of unsustainable ferry service, including a Monday night sailing from Skidegate to Alliford Bay that averages one passenger and one vehicle.

NDP ferry critic Claire Trevena said cutting mid-day sailings to save morning and evening runs isn’t much of a solution, because it shifts traffic to peak times where ferries may be overloaded.

“It’s going back to communities to say, OK, do you want to lose your left hand or your right hand,” Trevena said.

The only significant route change announced as a result of public objections is an increase of the summer sailing from Bella Coola to Bella Bella from one run a week to three. BC Ferries is going ahead with elimination of the run from Port Hardy to the central coast, which has been marketed as a circle tour from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island to the B.C. Interior.

BC Ferries issued a statement saying it will announce another customer response survey next week.

The government’s consultation report is posted here.

 

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

Just Posted

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

Welcome to grilling season: Saanich firefighter talks barbecue safety tips

Grills should be cleaned, serviced prior to use, firefighter says

Colwood woman launches Adopt a Grad

Facebook page aims to support students during pandemic

Cycling scavenger hunt comes to Tweed City

Cyclists scour Oak Bay for clues in Bike to Work Week event

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read