Editorial: Local ferry solutions exist

Editorial

Tuesday, January 16 2018

The Gabriola FAC are absolutely right in their requests to the Transportation Minister. 

First off in asking for accommodation on a route-by-route basis to the NDP Government’s proposed return to free fares for seniors starting April 1.

There is no doubt that seniors on Gabriola can use the break in ferry fares. But even before the BC Liberal Government killed the free seniors’ fares in 2014, way back in 2009/2010, there was talk at the Gabriola FAC level with BC Ferries about adjusting which sailings it would apply to. There was concern on the part of the then-FAC members that the ‘free’ riders were putting a stress on already-overloaded sailings.

Then, as now, the cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all method was applied and local solutions were left ignored.

The current proposal from the Gabriola FAC, to have those free sailings be from Friday to Monday, is more in line with Gabriola being a community which uses the ferry as public transit.

The second request, to get the ferry back to pre-2014 levels of service, is one which in an ideal world be approved.

Sadly, more and more this current NDP government does not see fit to follow along with what it was willing to go after as opposition members.

This overall review, which was originally promised to be looking at every possible solution, is already being handcuffed by not looking at returning BC Ferries to within the Ministry.

The FAC, and the local BC Ferries staff, are the ‘boots on the ground’ but it remains to be seen whether those at the top (BC Ferries and the Transportation Minister) actually listen.