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.

Just Posted

Shaving minutes off commutes among the goals for Victoria bus lanes

Work on southbound Douglas Street lane between Tolmie and Hillside getting underway

Backyard of $2.2M Uplands property bulldozed for BMX jump track

34-year-old financial advisor fulfills childhood dream

VicPD nab distracted driver with expired licence

On the phone while in motion, man had overdue fines from driving while impaired

Gallery: Turnout good for Oak Bay’s inaugural volunteer fare

Oak Bay showcased non-profits and more with inaugural volunteer fair

Vic-Alert faces tidal wave of registration after tsunami warnings

City of Victoria system is free and provides early warnings of disaster

Mature Garry Oak falls on Beach Drive

150-year-old tree blocks access in front of Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

How high is safe from a tsunami? Four metres above sea level

Be disaster ready with food, water and clothing for seven days

Victoria Film Festival set for triumphant return to the big screen

Two decades on, diverse film lineups keep movie-goers coming to the box office

Victoria’s most wanted for the week of Jan. 23

Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrests or the seizure of property or drug

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Bell Canada alert prompts RCMP, privacy watchdog to probe data breach

Company spokesman: ‘Fewer than 100,000 customers were affected’

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Most Read