Home » Business » The president of BC Ferries grumbles over the “lower” fare increase than scheduled for April 1

The president of BC Ferries grumbles over the “lower” fare increase than scheduled for April 1

Ferry fares will rise on April 1st and BC Ferries president and CEO is already complaining.

Mark Collins says the 2.3 percent increase in tariffs will make payment to replace obsolete ships, improve technology and improve service “challenging”.

In the autumn, the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner approved an average annual rate hike from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024.

“We believe that this regulatory decision, being lower than our expectations, could make it more difficult to achieve our business goals,” Collins said in a press release on Friday.

A walking passenger ticket from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay currently costs $ 17.20, while taking a standard vehicle on that route costs $ 57.50.

$ 8.3 million in losses

Collins’ comments came with the release of the third quarter results from October 1 through December 31, 2019, that BC Ferries posted a net loss of $ 8.3 million.

He had a net loss of $ 3.7 million in the same quarter of the previous year.

Company losses in the third and fourth quarters are not unusual due to the seasonality of ferry travel and ship maintenance programs.

As of April 1, 2019, net profits since the beginning of the year have been $ 98.9 million. The company claims it is $ 5.6 million more than in the same period of 2018.

BC Ferries officials said that overall revenue increased due to the increase in car traffic, retail revenue and provincial contributions.

However, operating expenses also increased due to higher labor costs and staffing levels as a result of additional round-trip travel added to the routes.

The company says it is making significant investments in the service, such as new diesel-electric hybrid ferries, upgrades to Skeena Queen and Spirit Class ships and other technology upgrades.

Fares were reduced slightly in December 2019 when the company eliminated a 1.5% fuel surcharge from each ticket due to a recent drop in fuel prices.

These savings are equivalent to a reduction of 25 cents per person and an additional 85 cents per vehicle.

There have been no vehicle fare increases since April 2017 and no passenger fare increases since 2016, according to BC Ferries spokesman Deborah Marshall.

Achievement of “business objectives”

Collins has not yet responded to requests from CBC News about how the rate hike may not be enough to cover the improvements and what the consequences could be.

BC Ferries carried 22.3 million passengers and 8.9 million vehicles in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

It provides year-round ferry transportation services to the west coast of Canada on 25 routes, currently supported by 35 ships and 47 terminals.

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