British Columbia

BC Ferries cancels cuts to major routes between Vancouver Island and mainland

BC Ferries is dropping plans to cut sailings on its major routes between Vancouver Island and the mainland —and says it will look elsewhere to find savings.

Provincial corporation says cutting major sailings would not pay off economically

B.C. Ferries vessel Spirit of Vancouver Island passes between Galiano Island and Mayne Island while travelling from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, B.C. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

BC Ferries is dropping plans to cut sailings on its major routes — including Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen to Duke Point, and Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay — and says it will look elsewhere to find savings.

The provincial ferry corporation announced two years ago it was looking at saving $4.9 million by reducing service between Vancouver Island and the mainland, as part of a multi-year proposal to save $19 million across the ferry system.

Sailings were axed on 16 minor routes in April 2014, and BC Ferries said it would announce service level reductions on the major routes by 2016.

But on Thursday the ferry corporation announced it had a second look, and decided the cuts don't make economic sense.

"When you start to look at the revenue erosion that you get, you end up losing more revenue than the cost-savings we would get," said spokesperson Deborah Marshall.

Instead, BC Ferries will try to save the money that could have come from cuts through fuel savings, a hiring freeze on non-essential jobs, and other efficiencies, she said.

Meanwhile, a year after the sailing reductions on the minor routes, Marshall can't say yet if those cuts have resulted in the $14 million in forecasted savings.

That information will be made public as BC Ferries wraps up its year end financial reporting by the end of June, said Marshall.

 

With files from Keith Vass

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