Ferry cuts: The sweet spot

REVISED: See bold in table in this post and in background link.

5 DECEMBER 2013 – While the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs have not yet succeeded in figuring out how the provincial government’s ferry cuts will safeguard the coastal ferry system, they do think they’ve found the sweet spot for the least painful possible service cuts.

“If the government’s goal is to find the biggest savings for the smallest traffic loss and least hardship, then we suggest it looks harder at the major routes, and at the big money-losing route hiding behind the profit-makers,” says Brian Hollingshead of the Southern Gulf Islands.

The three major routes (from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island) are the giants of the system. Yet they’re facing the slimmest of cuts compared to the 22 smaller routes.


Operating costs

Percentage of total operating costs



Cuts as a  percentage of operating costs


 * $ 522 million

100 %

$ 18.9 million

3.6 %

3 Major routes

$ 294 million

56 %

$   4.9 million

1.7 %

22 Smaller routes

$ 228 million

44 %

$ 14.0 million

6.1 %

Operating costs: BCF report to the BC Ferry Commission
* This figure is for BC Ferries’ 25 regulated routes.

The three major routes are considered the ferry system’s profit makers. Yet one of those routes is one of the system’s biggest money losers.

The Tsawwassen-Duke Point route has been losing money for at least ten years. In each of the last five years it has lost somewhere between $24 million to $30 million a year.

The route has an average capacity utilization of 48%. It could stand to lose one of its four shifts on weekdays for ten months a year and still have room for all its traffic. A combination of consultation and a revised reservation system could produce a schedule to accommodate the freight and commercial carriers who use the route heavily.

These cuts to Tsawwassen-Duke Point alone would save $9.6 million. The two profit-making major routes also could be trimmed more. With their massive scale, they can absorb cuts without the drastic impacts and community hardship that will be felt on the smaller routes

The government could use these savings from the major routes to buy time: to develop a business case for cuts to the smaller routes; to conduct social and economic impact assessments on the communities for which they’re lifeline transportation; and to reverse any cuts that don’t make sense.

While the government considers this suggestion, the FACC will continue to ask them for the detailed information they have used to develop the current cuts plan.

The FACC also continue to ask Transportation Minister Todd Stone to explain to ferry-dependent communities how the current cuts plan will fix the current barrier of the high fares, and how it will advance the government’s goals for jobs and the economy.

– 30 –


13Dec-Route 30-revised-Tsawwassen-Duke Point (32 KB pdf)



2 thoughts on “Ferry cuts: The sweet spot

  1. I believe the cuts should be looked elsewhere,it’s sad that we have to suffer the increases,when will us islanders get a break from paying for your mistakes!The government should dig into their own pockets not ours.I work in healthcare making a minimal paycheck,I struggle on a month to month basis,I do not get a bonus,I work my ass off now why does the government think they deserve the amount of money and bonuses they get for what?Recently I got screwed by the government almost not able to feed my kids and still paying my bills are behind and Christmas is coming,,shame on the government for the messes they have made!Maybe the government should take a cut out of their own paycheques,and work in our jobs(what might break a nail or mess your make-up or what can’t drink and do drugs on the job)The government needs to use the phone instead of flying and having extravagant exspensive dinners or staying in overpriced hotels god I could go on shame on the choices our government makes the suffering we go through!

  2. BC Ferries stinks !!!

    They have the nerve to charge $85.00 for a round trip Nanaimo to Vancouver for me on my scooter. This is just wrong!
    Not everyone makes the kind of money needed to endure this greedy shake down. This is part of the Trans Canada Highway.
    BC Ferries has a mandate to provide safe convenient and affordable access between Vancouver Island and the Mainland.
    Vancouver Islanders are reaching their limit.

    Shame on you !!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s