EDITORIAL: Sailing revamp no big surprise

NANAIMO: Cuts to B.C. Ferries three major southern routes should come as a surprise to no one.

Cuts to B.C. Ferries three major southern routes should come as a surprise to no one.

The writing has been on the wall for years that with increasing costs and decreasing numbers of people sailing between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, the status quo could not continue.

The quasi-private corporation needed a major adjustment in the way it did business, and that meant choosing between reduced service levels or increasing fares to pay to maintain the current service level.

It chose the former and will be saving close to $1 million annually by cutting 98 sailings on the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay, Duke Point-Tsawwassen and Swartz-Bay-Tsawwassen routes beginning in October.

Departure-Bay-Horseshoe Bay will have 18 round trips reduced and Swartz-Bay-Tsawwassen will have 32 trips scrapped.

The biggest change comes at Duke Point-Tsawwassen with 48 round trips cut back over the fall and winter.

Having that route’s last run on a Saturday at 3:15 p.m. will likely cause headaches for a number of travellers, but they can’t say they weren’t warned.

Sailings on the route were often three-quarters empty and there were times crew members outnumbered passengers.

It’s no way to do business and changes would have been made long ago in the private sector.

B.C. Ferries suggests anyone wanting to travel to, or leave the Island, use the Departure Bay or Swartz Bay terminals.

Some will no doubt cry foul, arguing the ferries are a link in Canada’s transportation system and should be available anytime they choose to use it. But those same people are up in arms when ferry fares increase. It can’t go both ways.

Transportation off the Island is still available, only now it takes additional planning on part of the public.