POWELL RIVER, B.C. – More sailings have been launched for ferry passengers living on B.C. coastlines.
This is according to a government release, which notes that people in coastal communities are seeing 2,700 additional round trips per year, a 15 percent fare reduction on smaller and northern routes, a fare freeze on major routes, and free passenger travel for seniors, Monday through Thursday.
The newly added round trips include 218 on the Earls Cove–Saltery Bay route and 85 on the Powell River–Texada Island route.
“The previous government increased ferry fares and scaled back services on many routes, making it difficult for people to travel for medical appointments, soccer practice and even daily trips for work or school,” said Premier John Horgan.
“We are making sure people in coastal communities like Powell River have a better, more affordable ferry service they can count on, which is good for people and local economies.”
Ferry fares on major routes were frozen in 2018 and will continue to be frozen this year, the release notes. Fares on smaller and northern routes were cut by 15 percent last year. That will continue this year, as will free passenger travel for seniors, Monday through Thursday.
“The restoration and improvement of the ferry service, and the fare reductions, are fantastic for Powell River and surrounding communities,” said Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons.
“I’m stopped on a regular basis by people who say how happy they are that they can now afford to visit family, attend events or participate in activities that they couldn’t have before our government froze ferry fares.”
“Recent legislation has been introduced that will strengthen the Coastal Ferry Act to better serve the needs of people in coastal communities. The legislative amendments emphasize putting the people in coastal communities at the heart of decision-making again, while also capturing government’s broader goals,” the release said.
The amendments are based on the recommendations in Blair Redlin’s report on the coastal ferry review.
According to the release, the ministry also worked with BC Ferries to respond to the BC Ferry Advisory Committee chairs’ request to restore some services that were cut in 2014. The ministry has reached an agreement to return these services over the next year, with the majority already in operation as of April 1, 2019.
• Government introduced legislation to enshrine public interest in the Coastal Ferry Act on April 3, 2019.
• On Feb. 22, 2019, the provincial government announced increased service on 10 ferry routes that were cut in 2014, restoring 2,700 round-trip sailings for people living in coastal communities.
• Additional trips on the Earls Cove-Saltery Bay and Powell River-Texada Island routes began on April 1, 2019.