BC Ferries Commissioner confirms annual price caps of 2.3% for 2020-2024 term

Sounder News

Tuesday, October 1 2019

The Office of the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner announced the final decision on September 30, 2019 on the price caps for BC Ferries’ next four-year performance term. 

The decision allows average BC Ferries’ fares to increase by a maximum of 2.3% annually from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024.

Commissioner Sheldon Stoilen said, “This final price cap decision confirms the preliminary decision announced on April 1 of this year. 

“We believe these increases are in the public interest – affordable to ferry users and taxpayers, while sufficient to allow BC Ferries to meet their financial targets, barring any extraordinary situation.”

The last term of 2016-2020 saw a maximum increase of 1.9%.

Before finalizing the price caps, the Commissioner considered additional information received since setting the preliminary price caps. This included amendments to the Coastal Ferry Services Contract, additional input from BC Ferries and the BC Government, comments from the public, and the results of a performance review on BC Ferries’ efficiency and their long-term capital plan.

Detailed reasons for the price cap increases are set out in the Report on the Final Price Cap Decision for the Fifth Performance Term, available on the BC Ferries Commissioner’s website at bcferrycommission.ca.

As part of the final price cap decision, the Commissioner confirmed an efficiency target – equivalent to 1% of annual operating, maintenance and administrative expenses – which BC Ferries must meet and report on annually. In addition, the Commissioner is encouraging BC Ferries to establish GHG-reduction targets, and to pursue the electrification of the new Island class ferries – being introduced next year – as soon as the infrastructure and technology are available.

While two of the new Island Class Ferries will be introduced into the fleet in 2020, four others (including two to replace the Quinsam on the Gabriola route) are not scheduled to be in service until 2021 or 2022. The Island Class ferries will be hybrid-electric ferries, capable of running solely on electricity, though BC Ferries has said there will need to be charging infrastructure installed shoreside before that can happen.