BC Ferries eyes sailing, staff reductions

Passenger and vehicle traffic is down this year and is not expected to recover any time soon, so BC Ferries is considering a plan to cut hundreds of sailings to save money.

BC Ferries' new coastal-class vessels at the dock at Swartz Bay near Victoria.

VICTORIA – Ferry traffic is down this year and is not expected to recover any time soon, so BC Ferries is considering a plan to cut hundreds of sailings to save money.

BC Ferries issued its first-quarter results this week, showing a decline of 3.3 per cent in vehicle traffic and 2.9 per cent in passengers, compared to the same quarter last year. That’s a 20-year low for the spring period, and the first year-to-year decline in that quarter in several years.

BC Ferries had been expecting that higher costs and lower traffic would lead to a net loss of about $20 million this fiscal year, but revenues have fallen more than expected.

“Recently we have seen a further erosion of traffic and we do not anticipate a turnaround in the foreseeable future,” CEO David Hahn said in a statement released for the corporation’s annual meeting in Vancouver. “Therefore the year-end loss could be significantly higher.”

A review of all BC Ferries expenditures is underway, looking particularly at capital expenditures and discretionary spending. A hiring freeze and reduced hours for casual staff are likely, but layoffs of full-time staff are not, Hahn said.

Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday an ongoing independent review of ferry operations should address “structural problems” in ferry operations.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom put a cap on ferry fare increases this spring, one of several moves billed as part of Premier Christy Clark’s “families first” agenda. Proposed fare increases of up to eight per cent on northern and smaller routes were capped at 4.15 per cent while Gord Macatee, the new B.C. Ferry Commissioner, reviews rates and makes recommendations to the government by early 2012.

Lekstrom said the review of ferries will examine the current public subsidy, and legislated rules such as minimum numbers of sailings and a restriction on using revenue from busier routes to subsidize smaller ones.

Just Posted

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Donation helps North Island College trades students

NIC receives $38,000 equipment donation from Seymour Pacific Developments Ltd

See the Heart of Winter at Port Alberni gallery

Group exhibit runs at DRAW Gallery until February

Future of McLean Mill in question after log pond incident

$200,000 allocated to dam repairs, water quality testing at national historic site

Enjoy a night of laughter at the Capitol Theatre

Outsiders Comedy Night is a fundraiser for STAGES Youth Theatre

UPDATE: B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Most Read