Guided by the Islands Trust Policy Statement, the Islands Trust actively advocates on behalf of island communities about BC Ferries' fares and services.
Ferries are lifelines for coastal communities and businesses – as highways are in the rest of the province. Island residents rely on the minor routes for the necessities of everyday life: to get to and from work, to get health services, to take children to sporting events, to move products and customers to and from their businesses.
Since the provincial government’s 2003 Coastal Ferry Act transformed BC Ferries into a private company, wholly-owned by the government, fares on minor routes have increased at a pace well above the rate of inflation. Fares have gone beyond the tipping point on affordability and are hurting ferry-dependent coastal economies, families, culture, and indeed, ridership.
In June 2015, the Islands Trust Council asked the Province of B.C. to invest in coastal communities by lowering fares on minor routes by 25 per cent to attract more ferry riders and bolster coastal economies, resulting in increased provincial tax revenues.
For years, the Islands Trust, along with other ferry advocates like the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs, the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and others, has requested that the Province increase investment in BC Ferries to reduce fares.
Below is a list of the Islands Trust Council's most recent advocacy on ferries. Click here to learn more about past advocacy efforts.
In February 2016, Islands Trust Council Chair Peter Luckham requested the B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure consider suggestions for scheduling changes by the ferry advisory councils to benefit their islands and mitigate the impacts of service cuts. In his May 2016 response, the Minister confirmed he forwarded the suggestions to BC Ferries CEO for consideration.
Islands Trust Council Chair Peter Luckham wrote to Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services regarding priorities for Budget 2016, and wrote to four Ferry Advisory Committees to seek input on schedule changes.
Islands Trust Council Chair Peter Luckham asked the B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to invest an additional $11 to $14 million anually, for four years, to reduce the fares on all BC Ferries' minor routes along the B.C. coast by 25 per cent. Read the June 11, 2015 news release here.
Related: June 30, 2015 Chair letter to Gordon Macatee, BC Ferry Commissioner and July 3, 2015 Chair letter to Minister Bond and Minister Yamamoto.
In May 2015, the Islands Trust hired Perrin Thorau & Associates, a public policy consulting firm with expertise in BC Ferries’ markets, to calculate the cost of lowering fares on all minor ferry routes. You can read the consultants report here.
April 10, 2015 Letter by Chair Peter Luckham to Michael Corrigan, President and CEO of BC Ferries re Meeting Invitation. The Islands Trust Council met with Michael Corrigan on June 22, 2015 on Galiano Island.