BC Ferries. Cut service, further subsidize or raise rates?

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I Think
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Re: BC Ferries. Cut service, further subsidize or raise rate

Post by I Think »

Increasing ferry rates is like trying to increase egg production by choking the chicken.
Perhaps a better way would be to decrease ferry fares by 10% per annum, and increasing subsidies accordingly. This would deal with Stevens 'overwhelm' of the service, and may well be such a positive economic benefit that is is self financing.

BTW if a big box store charges the same for a chair in Vancouver and in Victoria, the price of the chair has been increased in Vancouver by enough to subsidize delivery costs to Victoria, the delivery has been averaged, and the people in Vancouver are subsidizing the people who choose to live in Victoria.
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Corneliousrooster
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Re: BC Ferries. Cut service, further subsidize or raise rate

Post by Corneliousrooster »

Why is it "necessary" to have the full service kitchens and snack bars and cafe's etc. etc.? Except for the northern route, none of these voyages exceed 2 hours. There are a lot of wages being paid for as a necessary part of our hi-way system that are not vital to the system at all.

I lived on the island for many years and rarely used the extra services on the ferry. I don't know if the statistics are available, but I would be curious if the food sales alone are enough to cover the wages of the food providers.

And to the comments regarding if the fares decreased, would ridership increase? I don't know that ridership is the problem (sailing waits are not uncommon during the tourist season and holidays and should be expected). I would expect that if fares decreased it would compound the problem by requiring increased sailings to meet demand.
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Re: BC Ferries. Cut service, further subsidize or raise rate

Post by NAB »

I agree Cornelius that before one could pass judgement on the provision of amenities such as Cafeterias and Shops on the main routes, one would have to know if they are set up as separate budget centres, and are operating profitably in their own right. Certainly worth questioning if they are not and it were to turn out that such things as fares and government subsidies were in fact subsidizing people who patronize those facilities.

If I recall correctly it is not just on the Ferries themselves, but at facilities associated with the departure and arrivals areas on land too - although I know that at least one of those is privately operated (Contracted out?)

Nab
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Re: BC Ferries. Cut service, further subsidize or raise rate

Post by Smurf »

Al I think you really hit the nail on the head when you say we the public need to be better informed (of course that doesn't only relate to BC Ferries). If we are subsidizing BC ferries then their books should be wide open to us in a place easily found. I have seen their annual statements on the net and if we are interested it is up to us to study them. It has to show how much each route is subsidized and the use they get. It would also answer the problem of extra services and whether or not they also are subsidized and if so are they needed.

As far as RV's or whatever I am also an RV owner but as I live in the Okanagan I have a choice on whether or not to use the ferries. All the rates do is stop myself and probably many others from travelling the island and spending money there. As far as the rates they do go by length so you pay by the amount of space you use which I believe is fair. If you take up the space of 2 or 3 cars you should pay accordingly or you are being subsidzed IMO.

As far as employees I believe they deserve a good living wage with benefits as does everyone. I however do not believe anyone is worth a million dollars a year. If you own a business and can make that kind of profit , fine, but as a salaried employee in a business that is necessary for the good of the Province - NO.
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Re: BC Ferries. Cut service, further subsidize or raise rate

Post by NAB »

BC Ferries fare-setting process under review
Last Updated: May 19, 2011 3:19 PM PT
B.C.'s independent ferries commissioner is launching a review of the way ferry fares are set, saying passengers are very concerned about increases.

"I think it's fair to say that if increases are necessary that they need to be reasonable, affordable and predictable," Ferries commissioner Gord MacAtee said Thursday.

In February, BC Ferries CEO David Hahn suggested some fares would have to double over the next four years unless the government increases the corporation's subsidy.

MacAtee said he can't recommend a bigger subsidy or set the company on a different course, but he will review the Coastal Ferry Act, which sets down the rules for the ferry system.

He also said he'll take a hard look at the way fares are set — including the protocols of his own role as independent commissioner, who puts a cap on fare hikes.

Hahn said he welcomes a review of the fare structure, but noted that the company has little control over many of the costs.

"I think there's going to be some limited options on what can be done," said Hahn. "A classic example would be the cost of fuel: in 2004 it cost the company $50 million a year. This year it's $120 million."

B.C. Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said everything is on the table and he won't prejudge the outcome.

The review is to be completed in about six months.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-c ... eview.html
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Re: BC Ferries. Cut service, further subsidize or raise rate

Post by NAB »

Hopefully they are going to get BC Hydro under control too...

It's been clear sailing for eight years for BC Ferries in setting fares, but the government dropped the anchor on Tuesday, introducing legislation that temporarily caps fare increases.

Under the bill introduced Tuesday, fares will rise by 4.15 per cent next year, but further proposed hikes are on hold and BC Ferries will be prevented from cutting sailings. Meanwhile, a service review prompted by public concerns over fare increases will get underway.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said he wants fare stability at the privately-operated, but government-supported company.

Independent Ferry Commissioner Gord Macatee was recently tasked with reviewing the ferry system, which is one of the largest in the world, serving more than 20 million customers annually.

Last week, the government announced Macatee's review will focus on fare hikes and how they affect coastal communities.

The Macatee review was announced after Lekstrom objected to the ferry company's plan to raise rates four per cent on major routes each year for the next three years and eight per cent on minor routes.

"We have to find ways to make sure that this system not only is one of the best in the world, but that it's affordable and sustainable," Lekstrom said Tuesday.

"That's the view and the lens the commissioner is looking at."

Lekstrom introduced legislation to amend the Coastal Ferry Act, which governs the ferry system, to allow Macatee to conduct the review.

Under the legislation, the government will set the interim fare hike cap on all routes for 2012-2013 and prevent BC Ferries from cutting sailings until a final decision on price caps is made.

The law would also prevent BC Ferries from asking for extraordinary increases in the fare cap until the commissioner completes his work early next year.

The legislation gives Macatee the power to recommend changes to better balance the interests of ferry users with the financial needs of BC Ferries, said Lekstrom.

Prior to 2003, the government set ferry rates, but under the Liberals, BC Ferries started to operate as a private company, which included turning terminals into marketplaces and controlling fares.

BC Ferries was not immediately available for comment.

This summer a family of four -- two adults and two children -- travelling by vehicle between Swartz Bay near Victoria to Tsawwassen near Vancouver will pay $92.40 one way.

http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/loca ... lumbiaHome
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NAB
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Re: BC Ferries. Cut service, further subsidize or raise rate

Post by NAB »

B.C. Ferries to receive almost $80 million in additional subsidies


http://www.timescolonist.com/Ferries+re ... story.html

..problems solved???

Nab

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