Open letter to the Gabriola FAC

Tuesday, February 6 2018

Take a deep breath Gabriola FAC. Rest easy. A $2.35 reduction in the price of a senior citizen passage to Nanaimo is not going to result in hordes of Seniors jamming the system*.

A free ride for seniors is symbolic, it at least tries to acknowledge and give some respect to those of us who have worked hard, supported the economy and paid our social dues for 50 years or more. To raise the spectre that hordes of seniors will sink the Quinsam is a desperate grasp at a sinking straw.

The real problem is too many vehicles and too small a ferry. Period. Nothing to do with foot traffic, senior or otherwise. It is to be noted the the senior reduction only applies to the person, not the vehicle, so removing the fee for senior foot passenger traffic is not going to make any difference at all. 

Some creative ideas to solve this problem in the short term could include higher than current prices for the busiest runs, (with reductions for bona fide commuters and medical trips), reducing the oversize exemption to 16 feet, introducing GERTIE and carpool stops around the island. I ride with you to Nanaimo, save the car toll, give you half.

Penalizing seniors is not going to solve anything. Bold new steps are needed. That is the FAC mandate, to take such steps, to have a vision larger than pillorying seniors.

~ Dave Neads 

Gabriola Senior 

*The basic senior fee is $4.75, less Experience card reduction of $2.40 resulting in a net cost of $2.35.