No increase in ferry fares, fuel rebate kicks in

First time in 13 years fares have remained ‘effectively unchanged’

BC Ferries has announced that for the first time in 13 years, the average fares will remain effectively unchanged as the company starts the new fiscal year on April 1, 2016.

A price cap increase approved by the BC Ferry Commission, as well as an increase in BC Ferry’s fuel rebate will be implemented on April 1, effectively cancelling each other out for a zero per cent net increase to fares.

Fares for vehicles and passengers will rise by 1.9 per cent on average April 1; at the same time, the fuel rebate will knock 1.9 per cent off prices.

“With the continued decline in cost of diesel oil coupled with the fact we’ve locked in the price for the majority of our fuel, we are pleased to be in a position to increase the fuel rebate, which will negate the tariff increase for all of our customers,” said Dennis Dodo, BC Ferries’ chief financial officer.

“Given the current price of fuel on world markets, we expect to maintain a fuel rebate for the foreseeable future.”

In making the announcement, BC Ferries also advised that the cost of reservations, assured loading tickets, and the buy-in level for Experience Cards will not increase.

The fuel surcharge or rebate is done separately from the BCF tariff calculation.

On Sept. 16, 2015, the BC Ferries Commissioner released the final decision on price caps for the fourth performance term. It confirmed an annual increase in price caps (or average fare increases) of 1.9 per cent from April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2020.

BC Ferries says tariff increases are necessary to cover operating costs and major capital replacement projects.

The corporation needs to replace one ship per year for the next 12 years to maintain safe, efficient and reliable service, it says.