As if the province’s proposed BC Ferries service cuts and four per cent fare increase, both of which take effect April 1, were not enough to anger coastal residents, on Jan. 2, BC Ferries added insult to injury announcing a 3.5 per cent diesel fuel surcharge effective Jan. 17.
Currently a family of two adults and two children (12 years or older) travelling by car, Horseshoe Bay to Langdale return, pays $83.15 using their Experience Card. The Jan. 17 fuel surcharge will add $3.70 for a total of $87.65.
On April 1, the cost climbs to $89.98. Without an Experience Card, fares will be $107.25, $110.95 and $115.25 respectively.
The fare increases mean less money spent in our local economy and further discourage travel to and from the Sunshine Coast.
Motorists use our highways and inland ferries for free. For coastal communities, the province is only too happy to double-dip into our pockets. We pay both our share of our highways and inland ferries plus an increasingly disproportionate share of BC Ferries.
If the province thinks this will calm the waters for coastal communities, they are living on another planet. These fare hikes are steeling the resolve of coastal communities to fight all the harder to demand fiscal fairness for all B.C. highway users whether they be land-based, inland ferries or our marine highways.
This Saturday, Jan. 18, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Coasters will rally at seven locations along Highway 101 from Langdale to Earls Cove to tell the premier to stop the cuts and listen to the people. We are asking citizens to write and bring a personalized letter to Premier Christy Clark about how they believe the government is mismanaging BC Ferries. Please see www.bcferrycoalition.org for more details.
Jef Keighley, Halfmoon Bay