MLA says ferry fare increases will hurt coastal communities

North Coast MLA Gary Coons took aim at the decision by the BC Ferries Commission to allow fares to rise 12 per cent over three years.

North Coast MLA and NDP Ferry Critic Gary Coons took aim at the decision by the BC Ferries Commission to allow fares to rise 12 per cent over the next three years.

In particular though, Coons pointed the finger at the governing Liberals for the rising fares.

When the Liberals privatized our ferries in 2003, they promised stable ferry fares. But since that time on the major routes the price cap increase has gone up by 47 per cent, and on minor routes by 80 per cent,” he said.

We know fares have already reached the tipping point, as we’ve seen a serious drop in ridership already. These further increases will just exasperate the problem, and people in ferry dependent communities are now looking at reduced service and increased costs.”

Coons, who has announced he won’t be seeking re-election next spring, says the solution is for the government to view the ferry system the same way it views the highway that links a community to other communities.

The ferries are a part of our highways system, and it’s time we got back to treating them as such,” said Coons.

The system is broken and needs a new direction now.”