Ferry ridership declines as B.C. Liberals keep driving up fares

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VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal government needs to stop driving down ridership on B.C. Ferries by hiking fares, say the New Democrats.

“February tourism data suggests that our ferries are getting so expensive, people are choosing to fly instead,” said New Democrat ferries critic Claire Trevena.

“For more than a decade, the B.C. Liberal government has been driving up prices and driving away ferry users. The current plan to make ferries even less affordable and even less accessible will only make this problem worse.”

The data collected by Chemistry Consulting showed that February vehicle traffic between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay declined more than 7 per cent from the previous year. On the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay run, bus traffic dropped 8 per cent, while regular vehicle traffic declined almost 4 per cent.

At the same time, Nanaimo Airport saw an increase in airport traffic of 32 per cent.

“So in the month following another hike in fares thanks to a 3.5 per cent fuel surcharge, we see a drop of between 4 and 7 per cent in ridership. And that’s before ferry users were asked to stomach another 4 per cent fare hike on April 1,” said Trevena.

“Higher fares, fewer ferry users. Fewer ferry users, more service cuts. The B.C. Liberal government needs to change course from this destructive path for B.C. Ferries.”