Purchase single-sailing cards with PHC, FAC, and Mid-Island Co-op

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, August 7 2018

Gabriolans can now purchase a single sailing on the ferry at the discounted Experience Card price.

This comes from a partnership between People for a Healthy Community (PHC), the Gabriola Ferry Advisory Commission (FAC) and Mid Island Co-op.

Available for purchase are cards with either (a) single passenger walk-on price; or (b) two passengers; or (c) one car and driver.

L-R: Bruce Matthew (Manager of Mid-Island Co-op Gabriola), Kaylee Fullerton (PHC summer student), Bodil Ellins, (PHC Chair), Manfred Tempelmayr (PHC Treasurer), Nadine Mourao (PHC Bookkeeper/Admin), Steve Earle (Chair, Ferry Advisory Committee). Derek Kilbourn photo

Steve Earle, chair of the FAC, said the project came as an initiative from the FAC members, who then worked with PHC and Mid Island Co-op. Earle said, “The idea, of course, is to make the benefits of the Experience Cards available to everyone, including those who don’t necessarily have $55 or $95 to spare at any given time.”

“Initially, we asked BC Ferries to do something like this but they refused, saying that they wanted to keep the Experience Card prices high so that they would be specifically used by residents making repeat trips, not visitors making one or two trips. They are aware of what we’re doing and have given tacit approval.”

Nadine Mourao from PHC said that Mid Island Co-op “is serving as the purchase point for the cards. They don’t load the cards, they don’t admin anything except for people paying there.  “Monies paid go back to PHC as part of the administration of the program. It operates much like the pre-paid gift certificates people can purchase for retailers and restaurants. We are very appreciative of Mid Island Co-op’s collaboration with us on this project, as their hours of operation make it much more convenient and accessible for people to be able to purchase the cards.”

Earle added that users are asked to return their used cards to the Co-op or PHC so they can be re-charged and put back in use for other customers - and to reduce how much plastic is being used as part of the program.

Heather O’Sullivan said, “Minimum load thresholds have long been a barrier to accessing Experience Card discounts. 

“Ironically, it is often those with the most need who are least able to afford the lump sum needed to top up. 

“For those on a fixed income, the choice between putting nearly $100 on their ferry card or buying groceries and paying a premium for a single trip to town is an unavoidable reality.”