Service consultations: questioning the point

30 OCTOBER 2012 – The ferry service consultation just launched by the provincial government is confusing, rushed, and missing key parts of the picture, say representatives of coastal ferry users.

In the light of what’s missing, the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC) question the consultation goals.

“Yes, it’s worth discussing the Province’s two stated goals – how to save money, and a long-term vision for coastal transportation.” says Harold Swierenga of Salt Spring Island FAC. “But there are many holes and questionable assumptions in the picture of the situation as it’s presented.

Continue reading

New ferry fare hikes: Beyond the tipping point

02 OCTOBER 2012 – Representatives of coastal ferry users say new ferry fare hikes announced Monday raise questions about the effectiveness of government response to the ferry affordability gap.

The Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC) are concerned that fare hikes are double the inflation rate. “Fares will continue to grow much faster than people’s incomes unless government faces the causes of the affordability crisis,” says Tony Law of Hornby-Denman FAC.

In January, a BC Ferry Commission study found that ferry fares were then at the tipping point of affordability, and causing hardship in coastal communities. Since then:
• Current fares are at the tipping point + 4.15 percent;
• Next year those fares will have another 4.1 percent increase;
• The following two years will see two more increases, 4.0 and 3.9 percent;
Existing fuel surcharges continue on top of that, and will change with future fuel prices.

Continue reading