Travellers wrapping up their Easter or spring break vacations with a trip home via a BC Ferry will find the return voyage just a little more expensive.

four-per cent fare hike took effect this morning — one of a series of increases approved for the ferry system over the next several years.

Rising operational and capital costs will eat up the latest increase.

Fares are climbing for passengers and vehicles, and also for assured loading, and reservations made less than a week in advance.

The corporation's last financial report included losses of more than $16 million, with vehicle traffic at a 13-year low and the fewest passengers in 21 years. The ferry corporation blames its woes on rising fuels costs and a steep decline in vehicle and passenger trips linked to a drop in tourism.

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BC Ferries implemented a four per cent fare hike April 1. The company has faced financial woes in recent years, blaming a rise in the cost of fuel and a decline in vehicle and passenger trips. (CBC)

The ferry corporation cut 98 sailings on its major routes over the fall and winter in order to reduce the number of near empty sailings.

BC Ferries was originally seeking to cut 400 sailings from its schedule, but the province stepped into stop the cuts with an $80-million subsidy over the next four years.

The province currently provides BC Ferries with another $150 million annually, while Ottawa contributes about $26 million a year.

Critics say BC Ferries’ financial woes are due in part to the high salaries paid to its senior management.