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FERRY CUTS: THE SWEET SPOT
from the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC)
While the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs have not yet succeeded in figuring out how the provincial government's ferry cuts will safeguard the coastal ferry system, they do think they've found the sweet spot for the least painful possible service cuts.
"If the government's goal is to find the biggest savings for the smallest traffic loss and least hardship, then we suggest it looks harder at the major routes, and at the big money-losing route hiding behind the profit-makers," says Brian Hollingshead of the Southern Gulf Islands.
The three major routes (from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island) are the giants of the system. Yet they're facing the slimmest of cuts compared to the 22 smaller routes.
The three major routes are considered the ferry system's profit makers. Yet one of those routes is one of the system's biggest money losers.
The Tsawwassen-Duke Point route has been losing money for at least ten years. In each of the last five years it has lost somewhere between $24 million to $30 million a year.
The route has an average capacity utilization of 48%. It could stand to lose one of its four shifts on weekdays for ten months a year and still have room for all its traffic. A combination of consultation and a revised reservation system could produce a schedule to accommodate the freight and commercial carriers who use the route heavily.
These cuts to Tsawwassen-Duke Point alone would save $9.6 million. The two profit-making major routes also could be trimmed more. With their massive scale, they can absorb cuts without the drastic impacts and community hardship that will be felt on the smaller routes
The government could use these savings from the major routes to buy time: to develop a business case for cuts to the smaller routes; to conduct social and economic impact assessments on the communities for which they're lifeline transportation; and to reverse any cuts that don't make sense.
While the government considers this suggestion, the FACC will continue to ask them for the detailed information they have used to develop the current cuts plan.
The FACC also continue to ask Transportation Minister Todd Stone to explain to ferry-dependent communities how the current cuts plan will fix the current barrier of the high fares, and how it will advance the government's goals for jobs and the economy.
"Islanders! Please do not miss this meeting.
This is the one they have been talking about concerning service cuts to our ferry. Please do not be fooled by them and their statistics. WE NEED ALL OF OUR PRESENT RUNS! Settle for nothing less. They will do their best to divide and conquer. They will do their best to tell you things like, "Why would you need an 11:30pm ferry?"… Well there are many reasons, involving, arts, culture, sport, entertainment and returning home from the late flight from Vancouver, to name just a few. That is just one example.
All runs are important to someone and this is our highway. Don't forget that: This is our Highway! Shall we suggest that "all of those people who choose to live in North or West Van should have the Lion's Gate Bridge closed from midnight to 5:00 am.", just because it is not being fully utilized. Think about it! And give 'em heck! I'll see you there.
Director, Area C
Engaging Communities on the BC Coastal Ferry System
The BC Coastal Ferry Service has been wrestling with cost pressures for more than 20 years which, if not addressed, could threaten the sustainability of the entire system.
Accordingly, the Province has engaged coastal communities and ferry users from across the province on strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of the coastal ferry network. The Province is undertaking a further round of community engagement in 2013 following a province-wide consultation in 2012. This phase of the BC Coastal Ferries Community Engagement runs from November 18 to December 20, 2013.
You are invited to participate in the BC Coastal Ferries Community Engagement.
Public Open House Schedule
The first 90 minutes will be a public open house. The second 90 minutes will be a question and answer session. No RSVP is required for public open houses.
Quadra Island December 9, 6 - 9:00 pm Community Centre Hall
*Schedule subject to change. Please check www.coastalferriesengagement.ca for updates as of November 18.
You can also learn more and provide your input on the Coastal Ferries Community Engagement by:
• Reading the Discussion Guide and Feedback Form and completing an Online Feedback Form at www.coastalferriesengagement.ca (live November 18).
• Participating in a Webinar
• Providing a Written Submission:
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Mail: PO Box 3532 Vancouver Main, Vancouver, BC V6B 3Y6
We look forward to your input as we plan for the long-term sustainability of the coastal transportation network.
Assistant Deputy Minister
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
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