BC Ferries cuts will go ahead: minister
BC Ferries ship arrives in Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver, B.C., Nov. 13, 2013. (PHOTO CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
BC Ferries minor and northern routes will have cuts, Transportation Minister Todd Stone said Wednesday, as that’s the only way to achieve millions in savings to “reduce pressures” on fare increases through 2016.
Stone said changes could also be coming to major routes connecting the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island — including the introduction of a gambling pilot project to make money on one of the ferries — but those changes are yet to be determined.
A total of $86.6 million needs to be saved, he said.
The BC Ferries corporation is expected to figure out how to reduce $54 million in operational savings on its own — even if “further reductions in management compensation” is needed, Stone said.
The cuts are expected to primarily impact mid-day sailings. Stone pointed out one of the biggest problems is the ferry system is underused.
“On Bowen Island, the first round trip on Sunday morning actually on average carries six vehicles and 12 passengers … on average,” he said.
“The vessel that carries those vehicles and passengers has a capacity for 445 passengers and 85 vehicles.”
According to a government engagement summary report, long-term changes would include using more “no-frills vessels” for smaller routes.
Stone, however, pointed out decisions on vessel purchases are in the hands of BC Ferries management.