Ferry cuts outlined

The Denman Island, Hornby Island and Powell River routes have been selected for B.C. Ferries service reductions by the Province.

The Denman Island, Hornby Island and Powell River routes have been selected for B.C. Ferries service reductions by the Province.

Service reductions to minor and northern B.C. Ferries routes, totalling $14 million in projected savings, will be implemented in April, Victoria said Monday.

The Comox to Powell River route is slated to lose 94 of its yearly 1,460 round trips, (6.4 per cent reduction of service), saving $720,000 by 2016. The Buckley Bay to Denman Island route will lose 888 of its yearly 6,149 round trips, (14.4 per cent reduction), saving an estimated $660,000 by 2016. The Denman Island to Hornby Island route will lose 422 of its yearly 4,482 round trips, (9.4 per cent reduction), saving an estimated $360,000 by 2016.

The total goal for savings via service reductions by 2016 is $18.9 million. Though the majority of the savings are expected to come from the minor and northern route service reductions, a further $4.9 million in service reductions is planned for the major routes before April, 2016, (Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay, Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen to Duke Point).

As well, seniors, (65 and older), receiving free rides as passengers Monday to Thursday will need to pay 50 per cent of regular as of April 1, 2014 on major and minor routes. This change is expected to save $6 million per year.

Finally, the Province will consider introducing gaming on the major routes between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland to generate revenue.

Community engagement starts this week, giving a chance for the public to comment on the planned changes. Details of this engagement are available at www.coastalferriesengagement.ca.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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