Ferry talk: not all of these things can be true

What kind of game are they playing over BC Ferries?

Last week a BC Ferries report went public that suggested the possibility of cutting the ferry run from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay, leaving only the Nanaimo to Duke Point run between the central Island city and the Mainland.

Outrage was quick and furious. So quick and so furious that the provincial government leaped to declare they had no intention of allowing such a cut to happen.

That’s a stand we can certainly get behind.

Anyone north of Victoria will tell you that the Horseshoe Bay run is an important one to anybody who doesn’t want to have to drive through the entire City of Vancouver to get to Whistler or points beyond.

Christy Clark also seemed to put the kibosh on any fare increases late last week when she told the Vancouver Sun, “Frankly, I think the fares are about as high as they can get without really impacting ridership.”

Again, that’s great. We heartily concur.

In fact, we think fares have already passed the point where they are hurting tourism and other important industries that rely on the ferries.

A variety of Island organizations have put together reports with data supporting this.

So far, so good. But the government has also indicated more money in subsidies will not be forthcoming. So if they can’t cut routes, raise fares, or get more money from the government, what can they do to keep the system up and running?

What is the province thinking? What do they envision the future of the ferry system to be when revenue streams are denied and so are plans for savings?

We’re both puzzled and apprehensive about this conundrum. The provincial government has not been kind to the ferry system in recent years, and it shows with declining ridership and aging boats on some routes.

Nobody in power seems to want to do what should be done, which is treat the ferry system as part of our provincial highways – it certainly functions as such to all of us on the islands who use it.

Mark us down as skeptical about recent promises.

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