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Denman community ferry card helps travellers in need

DENMAN ISLAND, B.C. – A Denman Island duo is helping travellers save some cash.

Laura Thomson and her mother run a program where Denman Islanders can use the BC Ferries Experience Card Thomson has purchased for trips over to Buckley Bay.

Thomson said a resident can contact her before traveling, and ask to borrow the card.

The traveller then pays Thomson however much their trip will cost prior to their trip (e.g. a standard vehicle plus one passenger regularly costs $29.55. The Experience Card offers a 40 per cent discount, bringing the price to $17.50).

The traveller then uses the card and returns it to Thomson when their trip is completed. The money collected from users goes back into restocking the card.

The Experience Card must be topped off with a minimum of $95, when the balance gets low.

“If you don’t have the experience card, it’s 40 per cent more, and people can’t afford that when you’re already struggling just to be able to pay your bills and take care of your kids,” Thomson said.

“When you only have a couple hundreds bucks or less, (the discount) makes a big difference because then you’re also having to pay the gas to go to town. It’s tough trying to make ends meet.”

Thomson said she came up with the idea to do this with her mother following their own personal experiences of trying to find ferry travel funds.

“It’s no questions asked. It’s not because you deserve it, it’s not because you earned it, it’s because you need it and that’s the bottom line,” she said.

She explained that the service relies on the honour system.

“If you pick up a friend in town and you end up putting more on the card, you have to tell me that right away and cover that cost because the next person needs to be able to use the card and we have to maintain the balance.”

Thomson said this is another example of the community mindset on Denman Island.

“There’s so much community support here, and I think that this is just another thing to add to the long list of stuff. It’s inspiring to live here and see the kind of stuff that people come up with to support other community members,” she said.

Thomson can be reached via Facebook under the name “Forest Hood” or by telephone at (250) 218-9362.

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