Moderate inflation and saving fuel costs with liquefied natural gas should allow B.C. Ferries to keep its annual fare increases to a maximum of 2.3 per cent in the next five years, B.C. Ferries Commissioner Sheldon Stoilen has recommended.
The regulator for B.C.’s coastal ferry service has until September to set the final rate cap, and public input is being accepted until June 30. Submissions can be emailed firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Office of the B.C. ferry Commissioner, P.O. Box 9279, Victoria B.C. V8W 9J7.
The new cap replaces the 1.9 per cent cap, which B.C. Ferries did not reach in fare increases during the past five-year performance term.
B.C. Ferries is showing cost savings from converting vessels to dual-fuel so they can run on liquefied natural gas rather than more expensive diesel, and has seen increased traffic, which the commissioner expects will level off in the years ahead. Vehicle traffic increased 2.9 per cent in the passenger traffic increased by 1.7 per cent in the 2017 fiscal year, breaking a record set in 2008, and there were further traffic increases in 2018.
Increases in B.C.’s carbon tax, the latest of which took effect Monday, are expected to cost B.C. Ferries $19.8 million more over the next five years.