An islander is now BC’s Transportation Minister

Editorial

Tuesday, July 25 2017

Good news for ferry users.

Claire Trevena, MLA for North Island, and a long-time ferry critic for the BC NDP, is now the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, with the swearing in of the BC NDP government this past weekend.

That’s good news.

As a resident of the northern gulf islands, Trevena has first-hand knowledge on the issues facing ferry-dependent communities.

She has said, since the swearing in ceremony last Tuesday, we should expect Ferries news within the next couple weeks.

This has led to speculation on what that news could be.

The NDP Election Platform for 2017 called for three things:

1. Freezing of fares on major routes.

2. 15% reduction of fares on minor routes.

3. Restoring free travel for seniors on weekdays.

It’s not known if these are the specific items which we’ll be hearing about - or if the BC NDP has more changes for BC Ferries (the private corporation owned by the Province.)

The issue though, is whether those three particular items will help with the problems we’re seeing on the Gabriola route.

BCF doesn’t have a problem filling the Quinsam right now. Fares are up, and seniors pay 50% instead of riding for free, but there are still long lineups, and (at least according to BCF Service Notices) the ferry is running late due to the traffic volume.

Helping people pay less will be a good thing, but only if BC Ferries and the province deal with the fact we need either more frequent sailings by this size of vessel - or a larger vessel. At least in the spring and summer, a larger vessel would alleviate the long waits.

Get more people paying less to ride on a bigger boat - that’s a lot of currents to either work with or against.

Good luck Minister Trevena, we’re all waiting.