BC Ferries to cut routes and senior discount, test slot machines between Island-Lower Mainland

Lower-usage runs to be reduced on most minor and northern routes, and pilot project will test slot machines on main routes.

BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan and Transportation Minister Todd Stone take questions on ferry service reductions at the B.C. legislature Monday.

BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan and Transportation Minister Todd Stone take questions on ferry service reductions at the B.C. legislature Monday.

VICTORIA – Sailing cuts are coming in April to most of BC Ferries’ minor and northern routes, as the corporation looks to save $18.9 million in the next two years.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone and BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan announced the reductions Monday, along with a plan to begin charging seniors half passenger fares that are currently offered free from Monday to Thursday.

BC Ferries is also planning a pilot project with slot machines on the main routes from Vancouver Island to the mainland, to test the revenue potential. Fare increases of four per cent and 3.9 per cent are to go ahead in the next two years, but Stone said the goal is to hold future increases to the rate of inflation or less after that.

“We heard loud and clear from people in the coastal communities … that fares cannot continue to escalate as they have, and people want the ferry service to be there,” Stone said.

Ferry reductions outlined by the ministry review will go ahead in next spring, after another round of consultations with coastal communities to look for schedule adjustments to make the remaining runs serve residents as effectively as possible.

The route reductions, feedback forms and a schedule of community meetings are posted at the review website. There are no further reductions proposed for the main Vancouver Island runs, but Stone said the ministry’s target is to find another $5 million in savings on those routes following reductions last year to the Tsawwassen-Duke Point route.

The cancelled runs are mostly early morning or late evening, many with passenger loads of 20 per cent or less. The largest reduction is a one-third cut to Port Hardy-Prince Rupert run, BC Ferries’ longest and most heavily subsidized service that lost $31 million on operations last year.

Other runs being cut include Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island, Comox to Powell River, Gabriola Island to Nanaimo and Quadra Island to Campbell River.

NDP ferry critic Claire Trevena said the service reductions will have an “outrageous impact” on communities such as Quadra Island where she lives.

“We’re already seeing people leaving communities because of the cost of the ferries,” Trevena said. “We’ve seen young families go, we’ve seen businesses in trouble, and this is just going to compound that.”

Long-term strategies include converting new ferries to natural gas fuel and exploring passenger-only private service to supplement BC Ferries sailings.

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Most Read