Editorial: Ferry riders catch a break

Sailing waits remain a fact of life, but the wait for free ferry rides for seniors is almost over

Sailing waits will remain a fact of life, but at least the wait for free ferry rides for seniors is almost over.

In Tuesday’s B.C. budget, the NDP government announced that it will fulfill its campaign promise to freeze ferry fares on major routes, reduce fares on smaller routes and re-introduce free rides for seniors Mondays through Thursdays.

RELATED: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on B.C. Ferries

The announcements, slated to come into effect April 1, will be welcome here on Vancouver Island. Goodies delivered in a budget speech often benefit one part of the province or another, but any relief on ferry fares is something makes much more of a difference here on the Island than anywhere else. At the same time, for those who haven’t yet reached their golden years, it’s hard to get overly excited about a fare freeze, because after all, it’s really just an announcement that things remain status quo.

It’s noteworthy that the NDP government chose to follow through on its promises surrounding ferries now. A ferry review process started in January and is continuing until June and it might have been very easy for the government to delay making any decisions on the ferries file until the review is complete.

But it makes sense that the NDP would want to be seen as showing leadership on ferries, generally a top-of-mind issue to Vancouver Island voters, because the B.C. Liberal Party knows the importance of the file, too. The Liberals made their own campaign promises about ferries in their Vancouver Island platform, introducing the idea of tax breaks for frequent sailors, and continued to pitch ideas in the recent party leadership race.

Maybe this week’s announcements didn’t need to be made before the ferry review is complete. Of course we support free ferry rides for seniors and if fares aren’t coming down, then a freeze is the next-best thing. But we also suspect a review will identify other kinds of changes that will have to happen to get B.C. Ferries sailing smoothly.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDN will look at collecting old bins once automated waste collection starts in the fall

Residents outside Nanaimo city limits to see new waste pickup model in October

Lithium-ion battery fire damages suite in Nanaimo

One man displaced from home after battery for radio-controlled toy bursts into flame while charging

Nanaimo pianist and future doctor honoured for ‘excellence in culture’

Devon Joiner is among this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners

Volunteers on Vancouver Island checking in on seniors during pandemic

United Way reports 2,600 phone check-ins and 1,300 ‘virtual visits’

Nanaimo mayor, in his work as a lawyer, named in lawsuit over client’s will

Leonard Krog administrator of an estate being challenged under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Beefs & Bouquets, June 3

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Most Read