BC Ferries funding announced

B.C. is spending half a billion dollars in an effort to limit BC Ferries fare increases.

Premier David Eby and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming announced the $500-million funding Sunday, saying the cash is expected to cover several areas.

Of those, Eby says keeping ferry fares at a manageable price was his number one priority.

“We know the increase in core ferry costs like fuel, along with global inflation are driving up overall costs for BC Ferries. So, the funding will also support the electrification of BC Ferries and other initiatives to green the fleet, which in the long term will help control costs as well,” he said. “Our government’s goal is to keep the annual average fare increase at the level it has been in recent years below three per cent.”

Eby says moving in this direction and helping frequent ferry users had to happen.

“Some say that now may be the time to save money by making cuts, reducing services, or even privatizing our ferry service. It would be a mistake,” he said. “Recent submissions to BC Ferries’ commissioner made it clear that users could face unacceptable fare hikes. If we didn’t step in, we’re talking about a potential fare increase of more than 10 per cent in each of the next four years. It would simply put too much pressure on families and small businesses who rely on BC Ferries.”

The premier adds this investment will help small businesses get their products in without seeing a spike in ferry fare-related delivery fees, as well as assist in replenishing BC Ferries’ depleted staff.

Diana Mumford, a frequent ferry user from the Sunshine Coast and a member of the BC Ferries’ Ferry Advisory Committee, says the province’s coastal communities depend on ferries for their economic well-being and much more.

“Lots of ferry travel is part of my life, to be able to spend time with my kids, and my grandkids,” she said. “Ferries keep all of us connected throughout B.C.”

Eby says ferry fares will ultimately be decided by the BC Ferries commissioner.

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