VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The province has found the funds to prevent cuts to coastal ferry routes, says B.C.’s transport minister.
About $180,000 will be used to stave off the cancellation of 11 coastal routes until September, according to reports.
Transport Minister Claire Trevena hopes, until then, BC Ferries will be able to maintain the routes without additional money.
“Our priority is ensuring affordable, reliable ferry service is there for people in coastal communities as we carry out B.C.’s restart plan and prepare for our recovery,” she says in an email.
“Ferries are an essential service and a key part to the needs of our coastal communities. We are already seeing ferry ridership begin to grow, and [BC] Ferries should be in a position to respond to this demand. I’m pleased the immediate, proposed service reductions will not proceed and the current routes will remain in place through the summer, meaning service will be there for people and coastal communities as we continue our restart plan.”
BC Ferries continues to operate at 50 per cent capacity as per Transport Canada regulations related to COVID-19, but has recently resumed some sailings.
Premier John Horgan was asked Wednesday about financial support from the federal government to help BC Ferries.
“I have raised repeatedly, not in recent weeks, the issues of BC Ferries with the federal government. I have to confess there hasn’t been a particularly sympathetic ear because British Columbia is the only province that has a significant ferry compliment,” he said.
“We are in discussions with BC Ferries. We understand the drastic drop off in ridership they’ve had over the past three months, and we’re going to work with them to find answers to those challenges. But it can’t be done unilaterally by BC Ferries or the government of British Columbia. We need to have a collaborative approach.”