BC Ferries carried 2.9 million passengers and 1.6 million vehicles during the final three months of 2020, a decrease of 39.6 per cent and 22.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

BC Ferries carried 2.9 million passengers and 1.6 million vehicles during the final three months of 2020, a decrease of 39.6 per cent and 22.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

BC Ferries’ passenger count down 42 per cent as red ink dots third quarter report

Losses would have been worse without federal-provincial funding

As the COVID-19 pandemic sunk passenger numbers and revenues, BC Ferries would have lost $80.5 million by Dec. 31, 2020, had it not received support from taxpayers.

BC Ferries released its third quarter results Monday (Feb. 22), for the fiscal year ending on March 31.

These results show that BC Ferries received $308 million in December 2020 through the Safe Restart Program, a joint federal-provincial program designed to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies. BC Ferries counted $154.8 million of this funding toward revenues, leaving the company with net earnings of $74.3 million year-to-date as of Dec. 31, 2020.

“Without federal-provincial Safe Restart funding, the company would have had a net loss of $80.5 million, compared to net earnings of $98.9 million in the same period in the prior year,” reads a release.

Figures for the third quarter roughly mirror figures year-to-date.

RELATED: PHOTOS: New BC Ferries hybrid vessels arrive in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

BC Ferries carried 2.9 million passengers and 1.6 million vehicles during the final three months of 2020, a decrease of 39.6 per cent and 22.3 per cent respectively compared to the same period in 2019. Year-to-date, the company carried 10.6 million passengers and 5.3 million vehicles, a drop of 42.1 per cent and 26.9 per cent compared to the same period in the prior year.

BC Ferries blames COVID-19 for declining traffic and revenues. “This trend is expected to continue in the near term as the province recovers from the effects of the pandemic,” it reads.

Mark Collins, president and CEO of BC Ferries, said the restart funding will help the company protect what he calls the “long-term sustainability of the ferry system to recover our losses and maintain service and future investments in ferry-dependent communities.”

RELATED: BC Ferries budgets $200M to add four more hybrid-electric vessels to fleet

The re-start funding consists of three components: relief toward operating costs ($280 million); funding to limit fare increases to an average of 2.3 per cent in respective fiscal years of 2022, 2023 and 2024 ($24 million); and funding for discretionary sailings for fiscal 2022 through 2024 ($4 million).

BC Ferries has taken steps to reduce expenses by $68.8 million or 10.6 per cent year-to-date compared to the same period, mainly through reduced round trips on major routes. Reduced labour costs, fuel consumption and others are among cost-saving measures.

BC Ferries also ratified a new five-year-long labour agreement reached in October 2020 that calls for wage increases of zero, two and two per cent during the first three years of the agreement with wage re-openers scheduled for the fourth and fifth years. BC Ferries is also reviewing all capital plans to defer any costs that are not necessary for reasons of operations, regulations, and security and safety.

In 2003, the BC Liberals converted BC Ferries from the Crown corporation created in 1960 into a half-public, half-private company with the provincial government as the sole shareholder.

RELATED: Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

bc ferry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island Gazette file photo of Port McNeill council.
Heated conversation occurs at Port McNeill council over policy request

Port McNeill mayor Gaby Wickstrom wants to see a change in the… Continue reading

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
The Port Alice pulp mill site is being ‘recycled’

Bankruptcy company is overseeing de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring.

Port Hardy Senior Citizens’ Society president Rosaline Glynn holds up the certificate from B.C. Premier John Horgan next to Loaves & Fishes director Peter Sinclair, vice president Kris Huddlestan, and Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy council to nominate Glynn for the Order of British Columbia

Glynn’s nomination was endorsed unanimously by council.

Emergency personnel crews on scene assisting BCEHS with patient care. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Speed and alcohol believed to be the cause of Saturday night car crash

More information on the crash could potentially be released at a later date.

Nootka Sound RCMP responded to a workplace fatality report south of Gold River on Monday morning. (Campbell River Mirror photo)
One dead in accident at Western Forest Product’s TFL 19 logging site in Gold River

The RCMP and Work Safe BC are investigating the incident

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Vancouver Island Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

Most Read