An petition, that garnered over 16,000 signatures, asking the province to bring BC Ferries back under government control was brought to Victoria on Monday.
It was delivered by Jim Abram, Director of the Strathcona Regional District, who said at a press conference that the the company has a “huge” management structure.
“It has a board, it has a commissioner’s office, it has a whole bunch of people that don’t need to be there,” he said. “If it was in the ministry it’d be run by the ministry.”
The petition has the support of BC Green Party MLA, Adam Olsen, who noted that people who live in his riding of Saanich North and the Islands, who live on the Gulf Islands, “consider BC Ferries as part of their highway structure.”
In late-December of last year, the province announced its plans for what it called a “comprehensive review” of the BC Ferries, which began this January.
At the time, the government said the review was meant to evaluate BC Ferries’ performance in meeting the needs of ferry users and British Columbia’s coastal communities.
While at this point the travel may be pricey for some, the province recently announced that as part of this year’s budget, fares will be frozen on all three major ferry routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island – Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen, Duke Point-Tsawassen, and Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay.
This effectively cancels a previously planned 1.9% fare increase on the fares for these routes in early-April.
There will also be relief for all other non-major routes, with fares reduced by 15%. The provincial government says these reductions are important, as about half of all passenger traffic occurs on routes other than the three major ones.
Additionally, the 100% seniors’ discount for weekday travel between Monday and Thursday will be restored. This restores the free ride offer completely, which was reduced to a 50% discount in 2014.
With files from Kenneth Chan