First, the idea that gaming profits will help solve the transportation issue is worse than laughable. We know from experience that the beneficiaries will be BC Liberal friends, the ones that will operate on-ship gambling services. We’ll have to ask the Minister of Graft and Corruption who those people will be. You can bet the pro-media pundits won’t ask or speculate; they will wait patiently for a press release that announces the real winners.
Secondly, raising fares for seniors travelling on low traffic days will gain BC Ferries little. One of the reasons for allowing the discount was to shift traffic from busy to slack times. That benefit to the ferry corporation is lost. Experience demonstrates that ferry customers are sensitive to pricing and that is particularly true for people on fixed incomes. If senior couples must pay $133.50 instead of $102.50 for a return trip between Vancouver Island and the mainland, many will decide not to travel. Instead of BC Ferries gaining $31, they’ll lose $102.50 instead.
Senior staff operating the ferry system have suffered cutbacks but above the ferry management are two boards of directors involving 18 Liberal friends, each paid five-figure rewards and given free ferry passes for themselves and their families. The boards oversee ferry management as do two additional welfare bums, ferry commissioners who grab six-figure rewards for days of part-time service. No changes are proposed to this comfortable system of patronage despite obvious evidence of failure.
I asked BC Ferries for backgrounders on the changes. Their response said Monday’s announcement was a government initiative and BC Ferries had nothing to add. Thus, it is proven the “private” company is an adjunct of government to be pushed or pulled in whatever direction the politicians desire, whenever the politicians desire to push or pull.
If we examine the financial results of BC Ferries, it is clear that higher fares have resulted in lower utilization. The present government response is to increase fares yet more and cut service even further. However, look at the operating profits generated in recent years:
The amounts deducted after operating profits are largely financing costs and asset amortization. BC Ferries through egregious blunders of prior years pays about double what the BC Government pays for financing. That results in almost $40 million a year in extra charges. Additionally, the federal government is collecting roughly $40 million a year in GST and the province pockets over $10 million in carbon taxes each year and substantial amounts in fuel taxes.
Categories: BC Ferries