Higher prices for passengers as BC Ferries drops fuel tariffs

On Tuesday, BC Ferries announced it's removing fuel tariffs as of June 27.

Tariffs are being removed on June 27

Vehicles wait to board a ferry at BC Ferries Tsawwassen terminal. The corporation has announced it's dropping fuel tariffs by the end of June, which means passengers will pay a bit more to take the ferry.

Taking the ferry in B.C. is about to get more expensive as fuel prices continue to rise.

On Tuesday, BC Ferries announced it's removing fuel tariffs as of June 27.

The rebate and surcharge mechanism is currently used to manage the unpredictable rise and fall of fuel prices, but BC Ferries said it doesn't make money that way.

Corporation president Mark Collins said the company has had surcharges, rebates and periods with neither over the last 14 years.

When the tariffs are gone, the added costs will vary depending on the trip — but on major routes, passengers will be charged an extra 50 cents and it will be $1.70 more for a vehicle.

Passengers wait in line at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal in 2016.

Province 'disappointed' by move

The removal comes two months after the province announced $59 million in new funding as part of its fare reduction strategy.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena wrote a letter to the corporation saying she was disappointed to have heard about BC Ferries rebate plans in May.

On Tuesday, she reiterated her frustration.

B.C. Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena said the province tried to make an agreement with BC Ferries to keep the fuel tariffs in place. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

"[The province] recently entered discussions with the company with hopes of a solution. However, an agreement could not be reached," Trevena said.

"People along the coast deserve to be able to travel affordably," she added. 

The minister said the province is conducting an operational review of BC Ferries to "ensure the service works" for people in B.C.

Collins said the company knows affordability is important to passengers and that it uses fuel deferral accounts and hedging to help reduce the impact on fluctuating fuel prices.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

With files from CBC News

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