B.C. to restrict ferry rate increases

A BC Ferries vessel leaves Tsawwassen terminal on its way to Vancouver Island.

VICTORIA – BC Ferries fare increases will be limited to 4.15 per cent on all routes for 2012-13, according to legislation introduced Tuesday by the B.C. government.

A preliminary ruling by the B.C. Ferry Commissioner this spring indicated fares could rise by more than eight per cent on smaller and northern ferry routes next spring. The legislation caps increases on all routes to the limit that was set for major routes serving Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said the rate cap gives the new B.C. Ferry Commissioner time to complete a review of the Coastal Ferry Act before he makes a final decision on rate caps for the next four years.

Gord Macatee, the long-time civil servant who took over as B.C. Ferry Commissioner this year, expects to complete his review and make recommendations to the government by early 2012.

NDP ferries critic Garry Coons called the rate cap for next year “insignificant” after years of increases that have fallen more heavily on the smaller routes. The B.C. Liberal government’s mandate for ferries has resulted in the doubling of some fares in the last eight years, he said, and now Premier Christy Clark is considering a possible fall election.

“It seems to be an easy out for the minister and this government to roll this off until after the election,” Coons said. “And then knowing what they’ve been doing and how they’ve been operating with BC Ferries, they’ll jack up the fares after that.”

The Coastal Ferry Act currently requires BC Ferries to reduce the subsidy paid to keep smaller ferry routes running, and prevents BC Ferries from using revenue from its large, busy routes to support service to smaller islands and communities.

Lekstrom has said the ferry rate review will focus on affordability for ferry users and the impact of rates on tourism and other business in ferry-dependent communities.

The review will not affect the next increase, which takes effect June 1. A fuel surcharge of 2.5 per cent is being added on the three major routes serving Vancouver Island, and the rest of the routes will see a five per cent fuel surcharge.

Just Posted

Ladysmith Camera Club and Ladysmith and District Credit Union combine forces for calendar

Not one, but two versions produced featuring local photographers and local scenes

VIDEO: Mattress fire at Cowichan Hospital under investigation

The Cowichan District Hospital was locked down on Tuesday afternoon due to… Continue reading

Transport truck driver identified as one victim in double fatal head-on crash

Clifford Bishop, 54, a resident of Cassidy, had been a truck driver since he was 18

Manly will give it another go with federal Green Party

Paul Manly to be acclaimed as party’s Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate

Volunteers needed for Sunday’s Festival of Lights takedown

Volunteers asked to meet at the 49th Parallel Grocery upper parking lot at 9 a.m.

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Most Read