Ten years ago this month the BC government unveiled a brand new, not-quite-arms-length coastal ferry model. It promised jobs, economic development, modest fare increases and better service – all with no new public debt. The legislation included a move toward greater user pay, in order to reduce the Province’s contribution to coastal ferry service.
The model has failed to achieve its goals. This verdict is based on what we have been hearing for years from an overwhelming number of residents of the communities and users of the ferry routes we represent.
These points are a summary of views, framed by the government’s goals for the current model, followed by our recommendations.
12 DECEMBER 2012 – Ten years ago this week, the BC government unveiled a brand new, not-quite-arms-length coastal ferry system. It promised jobs, economic development, modest fare increases and better service – all with no new public debt.
That anniversary coincides with this week’s wrap-up of government’s whirlwind ferry consultation tour. The community tour was meant to talk about ways to save money. But residents and business people ended up delivering a verdict on the ferry experiment: the model has failed to achieve its goals.
“While we’re pleased the government is finally talking to the communities the model is supposed to serve, we’re disturbed by the large gap between government’s view of the system and ferry users’ reality,” says Tony Law, of the Hornby-Denman Ferry Advisory Committee. Continue reading
05 MAY 2010 – A key recommendation by the Comptroller General is missing from the Province’s proposed changes for the ferry system. That recommendation could safeguard the public service role of ferries and reconcile an apparent conflict in government goals for the system, say the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC).
09 NOVEMBER 2009 – Representatives for users of the non-major coastal ferry routes welcome recommendations from the Comptroller General that address concerns about the system’s public service mandate.
The recommendations are contained in a report released Friday on the Comptroller General’s review of BC Ferries and TransLink governance.
The Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC) say the review was a large task within a tight timeframe. Yet the Comptroller General made some substantive, excellent recommendations.
The most significant ones affirm the public service role of coastal ferry service. The report notes that this is one of the province’s objectives, yet it is not reflected in the governance framework the province created in 2003:
“The focus on the sustainability of the ferry operator(s), as articulated in the Act as a principle to guide the Commission, needs to be balanced with the interests of users of the ferry system, local communities and taxpayers.”