Ferry fares’ ripple effect hurts economy: study

Ridership is down across the BC Ferries fleet, and a report for local governments argues that fares have risen too far

Coastal class ferries at Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. Ridership is down across the BC Ferries fleet

Rising ferry fares and declining traffic are costing the economy millions more than the revenues accruing to BC Ferries, according to a study prepared for discussion at this month’s local government convention.

Based on what it is calling the first ever “socio-economic” study of ferry use and costs, the Union of B.C. Municipalities executive is recommending the province reverse its November 2013 decision to continue raising ferry rates beyond the rate of inflation.

The report refers to passenger declines of 20 to 40 per cent on northern routes, 10 to 20 per cent on minor routes and five to eight per cent on major routes. The report finds that “ferry ridership declines run counter to the trend of transportation volume increases in most other modes of transport in B.C., including vehicle and air transport.”

The report estimates that if fare increases had been kept to the rate of inflation, passenger volumes would have grown by 19 per cent over the past decade, adding $2.3 billion to the province’s gross domestic product.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone and previous ministers have argued that ridership declines have been seen on Interior ferries that charge no fares, and on other travel affected by rising fuel prices.

The UBCM wants the provincial government to take a “pause” in rate increases set by B.C. Ferry Commissioner Gord Macatee.

Current rate caps allow for maximum increases of four per cent this year and 3.9 per cent in 2015.

The UBCM membership will debate the report and recommendations at its annual convention in Whistler Sept. 24.

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

Just Posted

Ministry investigating need for highway barriers between Summerland and Peachland

Petition to install barriers garners nearly 15,000 signatures in just days

Priest Camp near Summerland was created in 1845

Agreement formed between Grand Chief Nicola (1793-1859) and Father Giovanni Nobili (1812-1856)

COLUMN: Choosing a face to show the world

It will not be easy to select the face to display on Canada’s new $5 bill

Summerland Steam lose twice in Junior B hockey action

Next action for Junior B hockey team is on Friday, Jan. 17 in Summerland

Summerland drama students to stage Matilda

Story by Roald Dahl will be presented at Centre Stage Theatre in February

Suspect arrested in brazen North Okanagan armed robbery

Employee suffers minor injuries from incident during the middle of the day

Osoyoos RCMP officer charged with indecent act to have RCMP hearing held in-camera

Const. Ryan Fulcher of the Osoyoos RCMP is being investigated internally for an alleged indecent act

Poll suggests some don’t think Canada should send troops to stop genocide

The findings are being released just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

Snowy softball in Sicamous

The 2020 snowpitch tournament took place at Finlayson Park on Jan. 18 and 19.

Secondary dwellings in North Okanagan’s ALR not banned: Ministry

Provincial changes require additional approval for mobile, manufactured homes on farmland in RDNO

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Queen Silver Star’s top royal talents revealed

Three candidates named finalists following talent showcase

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to give refund to B.C. buyer due to puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Most Read