The British Columbia Ferry Commission, the independent regulator of British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries), has released details on its final price cap decision for the remaining three years of the third performance term for BC Ferries. The final decision allows for annual increases in the price cap for all route groups as follows:
- April 1, 2013 – 4.1 per cent;
- April 1, 2014 – 4.0 per cent; and
- April 1, 2015 – 3.9 per cent.
The price cap, which is set and enforced by the commission on BC Ferries’ fares, determines the maximum permitted weighted average fares for all route groups. The commission’s final price cap decision reflects the recent amendments to the Coastal Ferry Act and the most recent amendments to the Coastal Ferry Services Contract between BC Ferries and the provincial government.
The price cap also incorporates efficiency targets and provides for service level adjustments still to be determined through a public consultation process led by the Province. The efficiency target has been set at $54.2 million over four years. Service level adjustments are expected to contribute $30 million to keeping the price cap lower than would otherwise be the case.
Click here for a copy of the British Columbia Ferry Commission Order 12-02 on the commission’s final decision on price caps for the performance term 2013 – 2016
Commenting on today’s announcement, Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee Chair John Hodgkins expressed disappointment that fares would continue to rise despite the Ferry Commissioner’s acknowledgement in January that fares ‘had reached the tipping point of affordability’. “With consumer prices across BC rising at little more than 1% in the past year, the imposition of fares increases averaging 4% a year for the next three years is a bitter pill for ferry users, especially those who depend on ferry services for their journey to work. Many islanders feel that ferry fares had gone beyond the tipping point of affordability before last year and yet we’ve already been hit with a 4% increase in 2012. We now face a further 4% fare rise each year until 2016 and that will just compound the misery for ferry-dependent communities – and inevitably lead to further decline in ferry ridership. That’s bad news for the future of our ferry services and bad news for our local economy.”