Experience Card levels dropping April 1; auto-loading reset

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, March 27 2018

BC Ferries is expecting to announce the final fare changes on March 27, leading up to the start of the April 1 fiscal year.

Going into that announcement, the corporation looked to be dropping the minimum load level on the Experience Cards.

Darin Guenette, Public Affairs Manager for BCF, explained it is a direct result of the anticipated drop in fares.

The minimum buy-in/top-up levels for all Experience Cards are based on the fare for ‘two sailings on the most expensive route that is eligible for an Experience Card discount’. 

“Thus, since fares are being reduced by 15% for all routes using the Experience Card, it makes sense to lower the buy-in levels accordingly.”

Heather O’Sullivan,  Gabriola Island Local Trustee with the Islands Trust said, “Dropping the minimum load level is a positive step...I welcome any change that makes it easier for islanders to manage their ferry budget. 

“But my hope is that, as part of the ongoing review of the ferry system, government will consider the benefits of setting the minimum load levels much lower. This long overdue measure would create significant gains in accessibility, particularly for those on fixed incomes.”

Those with Experience Cards have been sent notices by email that, effective April 1st, the minimum load value for the BC Ferries Experience Card will be: $55 for passenger only travel; and $95 for vehicle and passenger travel.

To implement this fare adjustment, BC Ferries says it needs to temporarily switch off the Auto Load feature on the Experience Card. 

“The Auto Load feature will be disabled as of 12am on April 1.”

Those who use the the Auto Load feature for their Experience Card will need to re-enable Auto Load after April 1.  BC Ferries recommends customers confirm ahead of time that their cards have a sufficient balance to cover all travel plans they may have for April 1st or after.