Nova Scotia

LaHave ferry riders protest steep price hike

A group of about 60 people are protesting a price hike affecting the LaHave ferry in Lunenburg County.

The cost of a punch pass for 10 trips increased 160 per cent, from $13.50 to $35

Sadie Watson says the reason for today's large turnout at the protest is because the rate increases are so significant. (CBC)

A group of about 60 people are protesting a price hike affecting the LaHave ferry in Lunenburg County.

Protestors boarded the ferry on Monday and passed out signs and signed a petition, and spoke out against the rate hike.

The price of taking the cable ferry jumped on April 1. The cost of a punch pass for 10 trips increased 160 per cent, from $13.50 to $35. A single ticket went from $5.50 to $7.

Ferry users say the hike is too much and that the ferry is vital for commuters and daily transportation needs.

"I live on this side of the river and my family lives on the other side, so I take the boat on a regular basis," said Anna Bald, one of the organizers of the protest.

Sadie Watson says past rate increases have been more modest.

"The reason why you've seen this turnout today is that the rate increases are not sustainable," she said.

Users warn the hike could lead to people to quit their jobs because they will no longer be able to afford the commute.

The ferry runs between LaHave and East LaHave and it cuts about 45 minutes of driving time around the LaHave River.

The ferry transports about 90,000 cars a year and costs $1 million to operate. The new prices will see revenues rise to nearly $290,000.

Phyllis Price worries people will stop using the ferry service because of the price increases.

"And then the government will say, 'Oh, the people aren't using it. We'll have to get rid of it,'" she said.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan says the hike is needed to keep the service operating.

"At this point these were the fees that were required to close the gap on the cost versus revenue and that's where we're at," he said.

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