Ferries stuck in downward spiral

Increasing sales (traffic) through promotion, incentives or any other means is vital for B.C. Ferries.

To the Editor,

I was a participant in the recent B.C. Ferries consultation and engagements at the Coast Bastion Inn.

The discussion guide provided was informative and somewhat revealing at the same time.

Its focus was mainly with respect to service cuts and cost savings, both admirable objectives in themselves, but the process of raising prices and cutting service to reduce costs is a never ending downward spiral that most businesses never recover from.

The guide made no reference to increasing sales (traffic) through promotion, incentives or any other means.

The Ferry Commissioners’ report reviewed the Washington State Ferries 2009 plan where incentives, advance, no fee, bookings and promotions were to be the order of the day to encourage increased usage. This observation was perhaps lost on the B.C. Ferries administration.

Each ferry sailing is basically a ‘fixed’ cost with fuel, wages and capital costs constants. The only variable is the revenue through sales of services, in other words, vehicle and passenger traffic.

I can, at my home computer, seek, book and print a ticket or a boarding pass for most any kind of travel almost anywhere in the world, except to cross Georgia Strait by B.C. Ferry.

B.C. Ferries needs an online, no fee, booking system for travel on selected routes. This, in addition to some rationalization of sailings on low volume routes, could have a major impact on the bottom line.

While this was the main objective of my attendance, with several of the other attendees voicing similar comments, I noted  a couple of other points of interest:

u A $6-million preferred share dividend to the B.C. government as the only shareholder. Dividends are usually paid out after tax and out of profits. If there is no profit, why are the dividends still being paid?

I view this as a tax.

* An $18-million deferred fuel account to be paid out of future revenues. This was a result of the fare cap imposed by the commissioner.

Why not eliminate the dividend and pay off the deferred fuel account?

* a $275-million, unfunded, defined pension plan for ferry workers. Only public sector workers have defined benefit pensions. This should be funded and a defined contribution plan implemented.

* The Duke Point route, while being the fourth busiest in vehicle and passengers, had a $29.8-million shortfall. It is similar to the Horseshoe Bay– Bowen Island route in volume and utilization, yet it has five times the loss. An anomaly that must be explored and fully explained by B.C. Ferries.

I hope it was listening.

George Creek


Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

Beban Pool is expected to re-open Oct. 4 after a vote by councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, June 16. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will re-open Beban Pool in October

User groups warn COVID-19 pool closures have left a gap in water safety education

Beef to the lady who went onto my property then proceeded to take my large plant from my home. I found out and asked for it returned. You said I was dramatic? You should be ashamed of yourself.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 16

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

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts’s body was discovered near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

A float plane crashed into the waters near Painters Lodge in Campbell River on Thursday morning. Photo by Alistair Taylor / Campbell River Mirror
Float plane crashes into water near Campbell River

Pilot uninjured, plane hit sandbar while landing

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Dr. Réka Gustafson, who is British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on April 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. public health officials prepare to manage COVID-19 differently in the future

Flu-like? Health officials anticipate shift from pandemic to communicable disease control strategies

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Camper the dog was found Wednesday night by someone walking their own dog along Hollywood Crescent. She had gone missing after a violent attack on June 11. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Camper the dog found safe after fleeing violent van attack in Victoria

Young dog was missing for almost a week after incident

Most Read