In the Dec. 13 edition, a letter-writer suggested boycotting the ferries to convey outrage against fare hikes and schedule changes. Thatís impossible for many of us. We were drawn to the Coast by its beauty, but we have been unable to quit our jobs in Vancouver. We canít boycott the ferry system, but we could boycott something else to make our statement.
Letís boycott the services on the ferry: the gift shop, the Coastal Cafť and the cafeteria.
Back in the 1970s when I first came to B.C., the ferries offered simple amenities.
The cafeteria was basic and inexpensive, like on todayís low-cost Washington state ferries or the ferry that runs from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island.
Since then the B.C. government gentrified the ferry system on the theory that attracting tourists would help pay the bills. It hasnít, so isnít it clear that the ferries have been cruising down the wrong channel? Neither the Washington nor Nova Scotia-PEI ferries with their low fares, rustic boats and plain cafeterias have a problem attracting the travelling crowd.
For that matter, the Staten Island ferry in New York City, with its 25-minute run between Manhattan and Staten Island and its plain-Jane hot dog stand, is free. This represents an enormous decrease from the original 12.5 cent fare that was charged in 1816. The Big Apple surely knows how to attract tourists.
But weíre not tourists, and since tourists have failed to properly support our ferry system, we are intrinsically important to the ferriesí bottom line.
We can let the government know by riding the ferries, as usual, but packing a breakfast bagel or coffee instead of going for the ferry food.
With a government that appears to be beholden to no one but big business, an outcry from White Spot is sure to get attention.
Elizabeth Rains, Gibsons