Properly managing employee costs might avoid ferry service cuts

Dear editor,

It was probably no surprise that B.C. Transportation Minister Stone said service cuts would go ahead for BC Ferries.

Dear editor,

It was probably no surprise to most people that B.C. Transportation Minister Stone announced that the service cuts would go ahead for BC Ferries, totally ignoring passenger and resident concerns.

Making seniors pay half of the passenger fare will not save as much as they forecast because some seniors will cut back on how often they travel.

Talking about seniors, will these fare increases and service cuts reduce seniors from the Prairies who may have been planning to retire on Vancouver Island or the nearby smaller islands?

Of course there are obvious solutions.

Having over 600 hundred mangers (including 12 vice-presidents) and administrative staff is excessive, very inefficient and unnecessary, particularly when compared to Washing State ferries.

Washington ferries have one manager for every 40 workers. B.C. has one manager for every eight workers.

In 2010, about half of BC Ferries’ 4,200 workers earned over $75,000. (More recent figures are hard to come by).

Eliminating half of those managers/admin staff could produce $30 million in savings. Also, eliminating free employee and retiree passes — another $9 million.

What about the union workers with a 100-per-cent fully funded benefits plan? A gift shop cashier earns $24.49 per hour, ticket attendant at boarding booth, $24.85 per hour, coffee shop attendant, $23.35 per hour, and a third cook $27.51 per hour, with pay raises coming April 1, 2014, and April 1, 2015.

No doubt with so many employees, a number of union positions could be cut as well.

BC Ferries has lost ridership of some one million passengers and half a million vehicles, compared to about three years ago, in a period when the economy and population has been recovering and growing.

Properly managing employee costs would result in reduced future fare increases and reinstating some of the service cuts recently announced and reverse the decline in ridership.

Ed Zirkwitz,



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