BC Ferries has sent the Ferry Commissioner its plans for finding the last $4.9 million in savings needed to hit the $30 million required by the province.
In the report, which is just coming to light, Ferries suggests changing the way it serves the mid-Island, by closing one of the Nanaimo terminals and moving all traffic coming out of the Lower Mainland to Tsawwassen instead of Horseshoe Bay. Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan and the mayor of West Vancouver have expressed concerns about the economic impact.
According to Ferries; “These options may include such strategies as: consolidating the two mid- Island routes, consolidating the two mid-island terminals, leveraging a passenger only service or shifting Route 2 service from Horseshoe Bay to Tsawwassen, either entirely or in part. The analysis of these options will be multi-faceted and extensive.”
BC Ferries and Transportation Minister Todd Stone are promising plenty of consultation, but North Island MLA Claire Trevena – the NDP Ferries critic – doesn’t have much faith in those promises.
Ferries says one reason for looking at those strategies for savings is the looming need to spend hundreds of millions to upgrade the Horseshoe Bay terminal and the company says improved highway links between the Tsawwassen area, Vancouver and the North Shore make it a practical option for travellers.
But, Ferries acknowledges it’s going to be a tough sell, “It is contemplated that the Major Routes Strategy will challenge historically established notions of how
BC Ferries’ service is delivered to the mid-island corridor, and will require changes in customer
behaviour. The success of this strategy will also be dependent, in part, on the business
transformation strategies. As the Major Routes provide approximately 80 percent of BC Ferries’
revenue base, any potential changes driven by the development of this strategy would need to be
approached with utmost care in order to balance revenue risk with potential savings. The
implementation of any changes would need to be carefully planned and introduced following substantial public consultation.”
You can read the report here.