BC Ferries eyes sailing, staff reductions

Passenger and vehicle traffic is down this year and is not expected to recover any time soon, so BC Ferries is considering a plan to cut hundreds of sailings to save money.

BC Ferries' new coastal-class vessels at the dock at Swartz Bay near Victoria.

VICTORIA – Ferry traffic is down this year and is not expected to recover any time soon, so BC Ferries is considering a plan to cut hundreds of sailings to save money.

BC Ferries issued its first-quarter results this week, showing a decline of 3.3 per cent in vehicle traffic and 2.9 per cent in passengers, compared to the same quarter last year. That’s a 20-year low for the spring period, and the first year-to-year decline in that quarter in several years.

BC Ferries had been expecting that higher costs and lower traffic would lead to a net loss of about $20 million this fiscal year, but revenues have fallen more than expected.

“Recently we have seen a further erosion of traffic and we do not anticipate a turnaround in the foreseeable future,” CEO David Hahn said in a statement released for the corporation’s annual meeting in Vancouver. “Therefore the year-end loss could be significantly higher.”

A review of all BC Ferries expenditures is underway, looking particularly at capital expenditures and discretionary spending. A hiring freeze and reduced hours for casual staff are likely, but layoffs of full-time staff are not, Hahn said.

Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday an ongoing independent review of ferry operations should address “structural problems” in ferry operations.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom put a cap on ferry fare increases this spring, one of several moves billed as part of Premier Christy Clark’s “families first” agenda. Proposed fare increases of up to eight per cent on northern and smaller routes were capped at 4.15 per cent while Gord Macatee, the new B.C. Ferry Commissioner, reviews rates and makes recommendations to the government by early 2012.

Lekstrom said the review of ferries will examine the current public subsidy, and legislated rules such as minimum numbers of sailings and a restriction on using revenue from busier routes to subsidize smaller ones.

Just Posted

Snow prayers answered as Manning Park ski hill opens Friday

Ski hill will be open seven days a week starting Dec. 14, and cross-country trails as well

Fleeing driver picks fight with Chilliwack police dog, loses

Good dog ‘Griff’ also locates large quantity of what police believe to be crystal meth in Abbotsford

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

DFO confirms that investigation of fish habitat destruction in the Fraser River is underway

Conservation and Protection reps ordered Herrling and Carey Island owners to take corrective action

Hope rescue crew remove man pinned in semi-truck on Highway 3

Tuesday night rescue was swift, with the man removed safely from the truck within an hour and a half

UPDATE: B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Most Read