North Islanders could see fares on B.C. ferries increase by more than 37 per cent by the spring of 2015 following a rate cap ruling by BC Ferries Commissioner Martin Crilly .
BC Ferries has been given the tentative green light to raise major route fares by up to 4.15 per cent and minor routes by 8.23 per cent in each of the next four years.
The regular fare for one adult in a passenger car to travel from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert would increase from $590 to $809.55 in 2015. The fare for a round trip ticket on the Tri-Island route from Port McNeill for car and driver would climb from $34 to $46.65 if the full amount of the increase is sought and approved.
The preliminary rate cap ruling of BC Ferries Commissioner Martin Crilly means fares could climb a total of 17.6 per cent by the spring of 2015 on major routes connecting the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
BC Ferries had requested room to raise fares even higher over the next four years which would have more than doubled North Island fares.
The lower rate cap is possible because Crilly has ordered the ferry corporation to find an $18.5-million reduction in costs.
The commissioner’s decision is a preliminary one – the public has until June 30 to comment at bcferrycommission.com and BC Ferries has one month to challenge the rationale for ordering the cost reduction and lower rate cap.
The provincial government is being urged by the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs to increase its subsidy for the ferry system rather than increasing fares or reducing service levels. A final decision isn’t expected before September.