Ian Jacques’ editorial “Another failing grade for BC Ferries” (Coast Reporter, May 16) fairly catalogues the frustrating shmozzle that the Liberal government’s forced reduction of BC Ferries’ Sunday service on the Langdale - Horseshoe Bay run has created.
However, Jacques wrongly states that the reduction of one round trip sailing “was not the perfect solution, but one that was agreed upon.” There was no agreement by anyone on the Sunshine Coast regarding service reductions or rate increases — quite the contrary.
On Feb. 27, a number of us who are active around BC Ferries met with BC Ferries’ representatives in an attempt to minimize the damage of the respective proposed schedules floated first by the provincial government and later by BC Ferries, both of which entailed dropping the 6:20 a.m. sailing on Sunday. None agreed to any service reductions or rate increases. However, we took pains to point out that the loss of the 6:20 a.m. sailing would result in Coasters either losing their Lower Mainland jobs or leaving the Coast to maintain their employment. Numerous sports teams would have been frozen out of regional tournaments. Many commercial and citizen travel interests would have been adversely impacted.
BC Ferries representatives, who realized they were between a rock and a hard place, trying to mollify a justifiably angry Coastal population while adhering to the directive from the province, specifically did not ask for our agreement on the service cuts or the rate increases. They simply asked for input on how to minimize the damage they acknowledged would ensue.
To date the Sunday service reductions have been an unmitigated disaster.
In fact, overtime charges for crews on the Queen of Surrey and at both Langdale and Horseshoe Bay docks, due to extensive delays, have eaten up much of the alleged fuel savings. A failing grade indeed!
Jef Keighley, Halfmoon Bay
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