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BC Ferries & the Sunshine Coast: **Prices subject to change without notice**
03-17-2013, 08:19 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-06-2014, 08:07 AM by Skook.)
BC Ferries & the Sunshine Coast: **Prices subject to change without notice**
On April 1, BC Ferries will increase fares to the Sunshine Coast by 4%. Next year, if approved by the BC Ferry Commission, fares will increase another 4%; and, the year after that, in 2015, it's another 4%. That's what BC Ferries says its needs to cover its cost - and increase of 12% spread over 3 years.

I think I still have that ferry stub somewhere in a box for September, 1995 when I moved to the coast; but, I am not going to hunt for it. The amount of $26.00 (1 car/1 passenger) seems to stick in my mind because I thought it was quite cheap not even realizing it was a round trip fare - I was moving from Edmonton. I settled in north of Pender Harbour and I think it wasn't until three years later that I took advantage of that already paid for second trip. Everything that I needed could be found on the coast and most of it in Pender Harbour or Egmont: doctors, dentist, grocery store, hardware store, pubs, general stores and gas station - all the essentials were within a half hour drive. Yeah, life was good.

I think between 2000 and 2004 I made one or two trips into Vancouver but I was always a passenger and didn't pay too much attention to the overall cost. I know it was increasing but not by much. I think it was mid-way through 2004 when oil hit $50.00 a barrel that BC Ferries began to groan and by mid-2005 the first fuel surcharge was introduced. Now, I just happen to have all my ferry stubs from 2006-2010 and I dug them out of my income tax file box the other night and the table below is the result:

[Image: attachment.php?aid=55]

Yes, 2006 was quite a year for those on the Sunshine Coast - you had no idea what you would be paying at the booth to get back on the ferry at Horseshoe Bay. Daily commuters had always had the option of buying books of tickets (a separate book for the vehicle and another for passengers) for a cheaper fare; however,they would have to pay the fuel surcharge as an extra fee. Over the next couple of years there were quite a few meetings on the coast over these rising fares. After my marathon year of 2006, I stayed close to home in 2007 so I can't verify the fares that year. BC Ferries has all the fares from 2008 to today up on its website.

BC Ferries got real cute on April 1, 2008 by aping the accommodations industry and dividing the year into Off Peak, Shoulder and Peak. The first covered the dead months of November, January and February when no one wants to travel because of the weather or because they are too broke. Shoulder covered March to June and October and December - covering most of the stat holidays when locals might want off the coast. And, Peak, well you guessed - the tourist months of July, August and September. So, now BC Ferries angered not only the resort and motel owners on the coast but all the tourist-based businesses and associations. This pricing system lasted one year.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=56]

On April 1, 2009, BC Ferries did away with the books of tickets and introduced the Experience Card. Like the tickets it reduced the cost of a vehicle by about $10.00 and a passenger's fare by about $3.00. You're required to keep a minimum level on the card to get those lower fees. Today its $95.00 for a vehicle with passenger(s) and $55.00 for passengers only. Again, this card makes sense for those using the ferry on a regular or daily basis. The table below shows fares from 2009 to today including the fare projections for 2014 and 2015 for a car with two passengers.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=57]

There is nothing like a chart to give you an overall view of ferry costs over time and here it is below. The years 1995 - 2006 are just a guess as is 2007 and those years along with 2014 - 2015 are highlighted in orange. All the other data is accurate. Also, I used the 2008 Peak fares since they would impact tourism on the coast and these slid in quite well with what was to follow. I can't remember what year BC Ferries introduced its reservation system but to use it will add to your cost which for the Sunshine Coast is currently $15.00 for 7 or more days advanced notice or $17.50 for less than 7 days advanced notice.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=58]

Now, imagine if you lived in Powell River.

Note: BC Ferries keeps only five years of historical fares data on its website and will begin removing 2008 data on April 1. If you think you might want to search fares in the future, you might want to head to the archive page and save the .pdfs. I could not find fares data anywhere else in my searches. Here is the link to BC Ferries archive fares page:

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BC Ferries & the Sunshine Coast: **Prices subject to change without notice** - by Skook - 03-17-2013, 08:19 AM

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