The Fare Cap
MAY 21, 2015 – The Ferry Advisory Committee chairs were pleased, and surprised, with the announcement of the 1.9% preliminary fare cap. Surprised, because with a nominal 2% inflationary increase in expenses, and the substantial capital program, we were expecting a much higher cap. Given the ground rules – existing service levels and assumed continuance of FY2016 service fee – we realize getting to a 1.9% fare cap was a major achievement. Any further reduction that might be considered between April and June would require additional accommodation.
Sustainability, the term, is borrowed from environmental science referring to ‘endurance of systems and processes’. We hear it referred to in terms of sustainability of the coastal ferry service, as if BC Ferries is in danger of no longer ‘enduring’. This seems to us like wondering if UBC or BC Transit or VGH or the Coquihalla Highway will ‘endure’. In fact, we believe that all four of those, as well as BC Ferries, will (and must) endure, hopefully in good health. That good health will depend primarily on adequate funding from governments and ‘customers’. All five are vital elements of the broad community infrastructure. The demise of any is inconceivable.
We are more concerned with the economic sustainability of the ferry-dependent communities served by the Minor and Northern routes, and Route 3. The ferry service is the economic life-line for these communities.
07 February 2011 – Recently reported coastal ferry fare increases are a realistic assessment of what will happen in the absence of additional government support or of service reductions, say the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC), which represent residents of coastal communities.
While projections may change if conditions change, the FACC see these as fixed realities:
- The major and non-major route groups are different.
- Only the provincial government can substantially reduce projected fares.
- Basic provincial support for coastal ferries is $92M a year, unchanged since 2003.
- Coastal communities are like any rural BC community.
- Additional ferry funding makes good economic and public policy sense.
- Imagine BC without affordable public access to the coast.
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.”
03 MAY 2007 – The Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC) have presented the provincial government with a package of urgent proposals that they believe will help mitigate the serious situation facing users of 22 ferries routes to coastal communities in BC.
The FACC met with senior staff of the Transportation Ministry on Friday. The Ministry is in the process of deciding what it will contribute to ferry service for the second term of its service contract with BC Ferries (PT2). The Province must finalize its decision by June 30.
The FACC has identified these key issues for government: