BC Ferries fares set to rise again in April

VICTORIA — The rates for passenger traffic on sailings to Vancouver Island will increase nearly four per cent beginning April 1, following approval of a tariff increase by the BC Ferries Commissioner.

Fares for vehicles and passengers will rise by 3.9 per cent, on average, however a fuel rebate of one percent will be implemented on major and minor routes.

On the northern routes between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert and Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, fares for vehicles and passengers will increase by two per cent on average. The northern routes are not subject to fuel surcharges or rebates.

With the company’s fuel hedges in place, the fuel rebate should stay in place at least through the summer months, and possibly into next year, according to BC Ferries.

“We know that fare affordability is an issue for our customers and because we’ve hedged a considerable amount of our diesel fuel costs over the next fiscal year, we are pleased to be in a position to introduce a fuel rebate which will help lessen the impact of the tariff increase,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO, in a release.

“While we actively manage the business and reduce expenditures wherever possible, the fare increases are directly associated with increased operating costs and capital replacement.”

In the announcement, BC Ferries noted the cost of reservations, assured loading tickets and the buy-in level for Experience Cards will not increase.

On March 18, the BC Ferries Commissioner set the increase in price caps (or average fare increases) at 1.9 per cent from April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2020.

The BC Ferries Commissioner is independent of both government and BC Ferries, and sets a ceiling, or price cap, on the average level of fares BC Ferries can charge. The price cap is designed to balance the interests of ferry users and taxpayers, while protecting the finances of the ferry operation.

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