New Ferry Fare Hike Will Wallop Coastal B.C. Again
VICTORIA - Yesterday's announcement that ferry users will be walloped with another surprise fare increase is more evidence that the Campbell government has stopped listening to coastal B.C., say the New Democrats.
"Increase after increase in ferry fares has hammered coastal communities," said NDP ferry critic Gary Coons . "Now we’re getting another ‘fuel surcharge’ increase that doesn’t have to go through public scrutiny thanks to a deal between B.C. Ferries and the Campbell government that circumvents legislation in the Coastal Ferry Act."
Yesterday BC Ferries announced that they will be increasing fares again due to a rise in fuel prices. Coons notes B.C. Ferries has not specified the date this latest increase will take place, but with only a requirement of 15 days notice, it could be as soon as later this month.
"Fuel surcharge increases such as the one announced yesterday will continue to increase as fuel costs go through the roof," said Coons. "And Campbell's fuel tax will make the problem even worse."
Coons said the Campbell government implemented a new rule as of April which allows B.C. Ferries to hike the fuel surcharge without seeking approval first. Under the new rules, B.C. Ferries will have up to 12 opportunities to increase the fuel surcharge in the next four years. They must only give 15 days notice.
"These fuel surcharge increases are above and beyond the already scheduled hikes which have seen fares on some routes rise as much as 100 per cent since Campbell privatized our ferries," said Coons.
Coons has visited over 30 coastal communities as part of a tour on rising ferry fares since November. He’s been meeting stakeholders and hosting public forums on Vancouver Island, the North Coast, Gulf Islands, and the Sunshine Coast.For details of Coons’ ferry tour or copies of the interim report, please visit www.bcndpcaucus.ca/en/ferryfares