Ferry fares are up, because we’re paying the debt down

Editorial

Tuesday, April 28 2015

This past week, BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan made waves up and down the coast after he suggested tourists are not using BC Ferries because too many of us are complaining about high ferry fares. Corrigan had been interviewed by John Gleason of the Coast Reporter newspaper. According to Corrigan’s statements, if someone is looking to travel to BC and hits an online search engine to look for BC Ferries, the primary returns on that search point to various media stories or web sites which tell people fares are too high. Within the story though was a gem of information that is the real issue with ferry fares.

Corrigan was quoted by Gleason as having said, “we’ve got a $3-billion capital campaign and have to raise our own debt, finance our own capital programs.” And there’s the real problem with the private BC Ferries experiment. 

Current fares (at least according to the latest data from BC Ferries) are able to carry the operational and maintenance costs of the company. Where pressure comes from is the ongoing capital program. 

The BCF capital debt is just one of  many items not showing up on the BC Liberals ‘balanced budgets’ as they hide their contributions to provincial debt in private companies owned by the government.

Low tourism ridership on the ferries is not the fault of ferry critics. Those same tourists can do the math. Spend hundreds of dollars just to get across the Georgia Strait, or use that money to spend a night in any of the hotels along the Sea to Sky Highway....a highway which all taxpayers of the province are helping to pay off.

Something Transportation Minister Todd Stone and Premier Christy Clark seem to forget.