Ferries should change course, set aside money for upgrades

The proposed termination of the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay ferry route was such a bad idea on so many levels.

To the Editor,

Re: Ferry scheme unacceptable, Editorial, Nov. 6.

The proposed termination of the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay ferry route was such a bad idea on so many levels that one hardly knows where to begin. Perhaps a good place to start is with the basic unfairness of the proposal. Our route and the Tsawwassen-Schwartz Bay route are profitable, and revenues earned on these routes are used to subsidize the fares paid on all the other, non-profitable, routes. In other words, users of the Departure Bay route have, for years on end, had to pay higher fares in order to assist ferry users on other routes (rather than, oh, I don’t know, pay for Horseshoe Bay terminal upgrades).

But when our route needs assistance for a terminal upgrade (that our route probably could have paid for on its own but for the need to subsidize other routes), the preferred option was to throw our service overboard so that B.C. Ferries with all of its subsidized routes could stay afloat.

Now that government has, obviously, deep-sixed this idea, B.C. Ferries is howling for further fare increases (as was probably the plan all along) to cover the Horseshoe Bay terminal upgrade. Well, if Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay ferry users can pay ever-increasing fares to subsidize other ferry users, then B.C. Ferries needs to ensure that these terminal upgrade expenses are distributed equally among all ferry routes. Or, better yet, exempt our route from having to subsidize other routes until we pay for the upgrade on our own.

Jeff Waatainen
Nanaimo