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BC Ferries & the Sunshine Coast: **Prices subject to change without notice**
04-03-2014, 09:14 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-06-2014, 08:09 AM by Skook.)
RE: BC Ferries & the Sunshine Coast: **Prices subject to change without notice**
Do you know what day it was on April 1st? I bet I know what you’re thinking, but that isn’t the answer. You see, April 1st was…

BC Ferries “Raise Our Fares Day!!”

[Image: attachment.php?aid=847]

Of course, we knew this was coming and that the fare increase would be 4% because a few years back BC Ferries pleaded poverty and was granted permission to raise fares 12% over three years. So the first 4% increase kicked in April 1, 2013. This April 1st was the second 4% and next year will be the third 4%. As for 2016, I don’t even want to hazard a guess - it could be far too depressing.

Now quite a bit has happened since BC Ferries was given the go ahead on that 12% over 3 years. On November 18, 2013, the BC government informed those individuals and communities whose lives and economies depend on ferries that: a) those free walk-on Monday to Thursday sailings for seniors would be history; b) there were going to be sailing cuts on a number of routes; and c) it might introduce onboard gambling on some routes. Now, there’s been no further word on item “c”, but “a” and “b” kicked in on April 1st, too. Tuesday was one exciting day.

It was those “cuts to sailings” that raised community ire up on down the west coast. Local governments fired off nasty letters to the BC government and sent delegations to speak to the Transport Minister. Local residents held protest in their communities and even sent a few busloads of denizens to make some noise in front of the legislature in Victoria.

What was the government’s response? It laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. You see before that November 2013 announcement, the Liberals won an election with a nice, big majority and knew they could ignore every feeble protest by ferry dependent communities to have those sailings cuts reversed.

I use the word “feeble” to describe these protests because that is exactly what they were - feeble. On the Sunshine Coast, about a hundred people formed small groups at points along the 88kms of Highway 101 and held up signs saying stuff like “Honk in protest of sailing cuts.” Seriously? Did you honestly expect the government would take notice or feel threatened by that? In your wildest dreams, folks.

However, if 5,000 Canada Geese flew around the legislature and honked while they crapped on everyone trying to enter the building, now that is something the Liberals would have sat up and noticed. If you had wanted to be taken seriously by this newly elected majority government you should have sent 5,000 protesters to the legislature, set up tents for the long haul and blocked every route in and out; you should have refused to use the ferries until the government listened; you should have blockaded every route into ferry terminals; and, you should have been willing to accept arrest for these endeavours. Yes, the government would have listened then, I guarantee it. I tell you Anglo-Canadians have no guts and should take a page from Quebecers who do know how to protest.

Just to show how cowered they were by all these “protests”, BC Ferries snuck in a little announcement on January 2nd that it was bringing back the ever popular “Fuel Surcharge” and that kicked in on January 17th. This surcharge will remain in effect until BC Ferries decides it is no longer needed. Let’s repeat the end part again - until BC Ferries decides it is no longer needed

It’s the small business owners on the SC, Vancouver Island and their surrounding Gulf Islands who have squawked the most. My question is, “Who did you folks vote for in the election, eh?” Crispy? You bet you little small “c” , big "C" conservatives, you. Well, you got what you voted for so you just sit back now and suck it up.

Let’s take a look at those new April 1st BC Ferry increases for the Sunshine Coast and for comparison I’ve gone back to April 1, 2013. This information below was taken directly from the BC Ferry fare schedules and is for a standard vehicle carrying two adult passengers.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=848]

Well, those fares are getting real ugly, aren’t they? But, there is something missing. Do you know that nowhere on the SC fare schedule page, which I will include at the end of the post, is there any mention of taxes (this applies to every route fare page). To determine what taxes are added to the fares, you wade through the BC Ferries’ “Frequently Asked Questions” section on its website. It just so happens that as for every other “service” in Canada, you will pay the 5% GST. So let’s revisit those fares above and tack on the GST.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=849]

Isn’t that sweet? Now, don’t you wish you had made a more serious attempt at protesting?

On the new SC Fare Schedule page, you will note that seniors will now pay 50% of the adult fare for their walk-on Monday to Thursday travels. Peanuts, really. I am betting that seniors will be paying full adult fare with the next April Fool’s Day fare increase.

Regular SC ferry users can purchase the Experience Card to lower fares; however, you have to keep the card topped up to a certain level and BC Ferries gets to collect interest on your money. By the way, as of April 1st there is a new load minimum for the cards: $115 for passenger and car. Be sure to read all the details on that website page and you will want to check out the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ regarding the EC on this BC Ferries webpage.

Oh, and as for Reservations - the cost of that went up on April 1st, too:

Quote:NEW APRIL 1, 2014
In order to encourage customers to book in advance [Skook: by more than 7 days], fees for reservations made the day of departure will increase from $18.50 to $22.00 effective April 1st. Plan ahead and save by booking more than 7 days ahead for only $15.00.

See how BC Ferries tries to put a positive spin on that increase - they say "to encourage" and "save". Heck, it just wants to make more interest off more of your money. Really, how many of us plan a trip to the big smoke over a week in advance? Of course, the Reservation increase really puts the screws to tourists, doesn’t it? Oh, and don't forget to tack on the 5% GST because this is a service, too.

I ask you, “Does it get any better than this?” for those living on the Sunshine Coast. Well, at least you’re not living or owning a business in Powell River! If I didn’t have some sort of life, I would start checking PR's residential and business real estate listings.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=850]

(I do apologize for that poor excuse of a Mariachi Band above. Unfortunately, BC Ferries gave me a very, very small budget to work with, and that was the best I could do. Tongue)

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01-24-2015, 08:03 AM,
RE: BC Ferries & the Sunshine Coast: **Prices subject to change without notice**
As detailed with actuarial accuracy by Skook, above, the last few years have brought no good news from BC Ferries.

Today, thinking about the affect of decreasing petroleum prices on various things, I wondered about the Fuel Surcharge imposed by BC Ferries a few years ago.

So, I Googled. And lo and behold, what did I find? Something I missed since I'm 'not from around here' anymore.

"BC Ferries has announced that a 3.4 per cent fuel surcharge that came in the midst of three consecutive years of fare increases will be eliminated starting Wednesday December 17, 2014.

Ferries president Mike Corrigan says favourable market conditions mean the charge that began mid-January is no longer necessary.

The former Crown corporation added the surcharge on all but northern routes, saying an increase in the cost of fuel meant the extra cost could remain in place for more than a year.

BC Ferries says it still has an outstanding balance in its fuel deferral account, but the remainder continues to drop and forecasts indicate the balance will be reduced to zero in the first half of 2015.

The removal of the charge will bring the cost of ferry travel down by varying amounts, depending on the destination and how people get there.

Foot passengers sailing between the Gulf Islands will pay 20 cents less, while a family of four travelling by car between Vancouver and Victoria will save $3.25 each way."

Sure enough, I checked the BC Ferries fee schedule which were effective on 17 December 2014 and there are no fuel surcharges.

It's almost like Santa Claus heard your pleas and delivered in time for Christmas!
06-19-2015, 06:07 PM,
RE: BC Ferries & the Sunshine Coast: **Prices subject to change without notice**
Anecdotal evidence from a friend who visits the Sunshine Coast monthly. Closet socialists? Every mile or so . . . small but noticeable signs . . .“More Ferry Sailings - Lower Fares”

And how is that going to work? Just reporting and asking!

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