Ferry cuts are hurting the B.C. Coastal economy, a freshly released study says. The Union of B.C. Municipalities study indicates a marked drop in ferry ridership along with slow economic development in ferry dependent communities, which they say exposes how the ferry corporation and government policies are failing.
“The release of this report provides an opportunity to re-think the policies that direct the funding of BC Ferries,” said UBCM President Rhona Martin. “This study demonstrates a clear link between fare increases and declining ridership, and the cost of those fare increases to the provincial economy.. As a first step towards reversing the trend in ridership, we are asking the province to restore fares and service to 2013 levels.”
The B.C. government has reportedly dismissed the study as not an accurate reflection of the impact of service cuts and fee hikes, however the extensive study notes passenger volumes would have grown by 19 per cent instead of being reduced, and that ridership has declined by 11 per cent over a decade.