Join the Chamber


Consumers are 80% more likely to buy goods and services from a Chamber member. Your Membership means business. Join today.

Greater Victoria, BC News


Date ArticleType
12/1/2014 Published Article
BC Ferries Standoff

BC Ferries will continue to be a priority for our region, and for the entire Island. Recent discussions around increasing efficiencies within the BC Ferries structure has caused considerable debate and has raised concerns on the Island.

The current challenge for BC Ferries is that there are only two profitable routes. These profitable routes continue to support the minor routes in excess of $20 million annually. With this in mind, along with the fact that fares have reached their limit, there is concern that additional increases will have a negative economic impact with further declining ridership. We have advocated the need for BC Ferries to identify cost-saving efficiencies including terminal rationalization and passenger ferry service as a few possible solutions.

In September of this year, BC Ferries published its report Strategies for Enhancing Efficiencies in Performance Term Four and Beyond. It received much media attention, specifically around the major route shift to address terminal upgrade issues at Horseshoe Bay. Both the Minister of Transportation and the Premier were quick to respond. The Transportation Minister committed to continued service and appears determined to not have any routes changed or shifted. The Premier that fares have reached their tipping point.

So, where does that leave ferry dependent communities? I see three main levers to address sustainability issues. One, finding efficiencies including cutting costs, terminal rationalization, etc. That has already been denied. Two, increase fares. That’s unending game of diminishing returns. Three, government funding (cash). Specifically, government cash in the form of larger subsidies. How much cash? Boat loads upon boat loads of cash.

Addressing budget shortfalls, maintaining fleet renewal and creating a sustainable long-term ferry system can only be accomplished by the last lever the government has left available. That’s more money from government.

Although we would like to see BC Ferries identify and implement efficiencies that result in cost savings, such innovative strategies are not supported by the sole shareholder, the BC government. So, where do we get the money….?

Bruce Carter CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Business Examiner - December 2014


Chamber of Commerce Group Insurance Plan University of Victoria Co-operative Education Program and Career Services