BC Ferries fares won’t go up to cover COVID-19 losses, minister says

Transportation minister on B.C. Ferries growing financial losses
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena on what BC Ferries plans to do about their financial situation and if fares will increase.

BC Ferries will not be allowed to increase fare rates to offset its growing financial losses, says Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.

The corporation has lost $130 million in revenue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I absolutely understand people’s concerns over the potential problem of having to pay for the BC Ferries losses,” Trevena told Global News on Tuesday.

“It is not in the public interest at this time to look at increasing fares.”

Read more: B.C. ferry workers say locals-first boarding policy leading to anger, abuse

BC Ferries has not formally asked for a bailout, she added, though it’s had frequent conversations with her and her staff about ways to deal with the financial shortfall.

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Premier John Horgan has been seeking help from Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, but so far, the federal government has not agreed to anything.

BC Transit and TransLink, meanwhile, will receive more than $1 billion in support: $560 million from Ottawa and $560 million from Victoria. The ferry company was not included.

“We are still obviously talking to the federal government,” Trevena said.

“We are also talking to BC Ferries to understand the extent of the problem it is facing.”

Confusion and frustration build over ‘locals first’ boarding rules for BC Ferries.
Confusion and frustration build over ‘locals first’ boarding rules for BC Ferries.

The company has been forced to halt or reduce sailings on entire routes, as well as reduce capacity, to deal with the pandemic.

“We have to remember how important a viable ferry system is when we move into recovery,” Trevena said.

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