Increases in BC Ferries fares will be capped at 1.9 per cent from 2016 to 2020.

Ferry Commissioner Gord Macatee announced the decision Wednesday, confirming a preliminary cap proposed back in March.

Macatee says he reviewed the new contract between the province and the ferry company, as well as public input – which had a couple of themes: concerns about affordability and a call for roll backs.

“Although some have advocated that we impose fare reductions, it is beyond the scope of our authority to do that,” he says. “Unless there is an offsetting source of new revenue or reductions in cost or services, but neither of those are being proposed.”

Macatee also praised the government and BC Ferries for working over the last 4 years to keep costs and fares under control and pointed out that BC Ferries will have the discretion to shift the increases among routes so long as the total for the system stays below the cap.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone is welcoming the decision as confirmation that “the Government of B.C.’s vision for the
coastal ferry service is working.”

But, he adds, “However, as I said earlier this year and as the commissioner has stated in his reports, there is more work for BC Ferries to do over the next four years to further reduce pressure on fares to ensure our coastal ferry service operates as efficiently and affordably as possible, well into the future.”