Passengers watch orcas from a BC Ferries sailing. (Black Press files)

BC Ferries posts strong earnings before rate cuts

Last year highest ever for vehicle traffic, most walk-ons in 20 years

BC Ferries has reported net earnings of nearly $60 million for 2017-18, due mostly to a surge in traffic volumes for vehicles and foot passengers.

Year-end results released Tuesday included the highest vehicle traffic total ever for the fiscal year ended March 31, and the most foot passenger tickets sold in 20 years.

The earnings result is not actual profit, since BC Ferries receives a provincial payment of more than $150 million a year to meet its requirement to service smaller communities. It also gets a federal-provincial subsidy of nearly $30 million.

Even with traffic continuing strong so far this year, discounts imposed by the NDP government mean less revenue for the provincial ferry corporation. A promised 15 per cent reduction in minor route fares took effect April 1, and Vancouver Island-Lower Mainland route fares are held steady for the current year after a 1.9 per cent increase in vehicle fares last year.

Free weekday sailings for seniors were also reinstated as of April 1, reversing the previous government’s policy of charging seniors 50 per cent of the walk-on fare for Monday to Thursday trips.

RELATED: BC Ferries eliminates fuel rebate

A fuel rebate is being discontinued as of June 27. Passengers on major and minor routes will pay an additional 2.9 per cent, while northern routes will see a 1.9 per cent increase. BC Ferries decided to remove a fuel rebate that has been in place since 2016, due to the rising cost of fuel.

On a Metro Vancouver-Vancouver Island trip, the fuel surcharge will cost 50 cents more on a passenger fare and $1.70 more for a vehicle. For a northern trip, the fuel charge is 30 cents per person and 70 cents per vehicle.

Demand for BC Ferries trips has been met by additional sailings and introduction of new vessels. Total round trips were up by 1,190 compared to the previous year. Three new Salish Class vessels in service on smaller routes were built to use liquefied natural gas as well as diesel, and the Spirit of British Columbia recently returned to service after a refit that includes an LNG fuel system to reduce costs.

BC Ferries estimates that LNG fuel is 40 to 50 per cent cheaper than marine diesel, which still powers most of the fleet.

The addition of new vessels and and sailings actually reduced BC Ferries’ bottom line in 2017-18, with the additional fuel, labour and training required costing more than the extra revenues generated.

BC Ferries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction begins on Highway 91/17 improvements in Delta

Project includes new interchanges at Highway 17/Highway 91 Connector and at River Road/Highway 17

North Delta’s Brandon Bassi honoured in throne speech

Former NDSS Huskies captain died following a car crash in Surrey on May 18, 2019

Trade sends Surrey NHLer Brenden Dillon to Washington

‘We felt it was important for us to add a player of his caliber to our defensive group,’ says Caps GM

Despite evacuation, coronavirus-quarantined White Rock couple still two weeks from home

Government chartered plane to help cruising Canadians return from Japan

Outdoor AED unit in Surrey among the first in B.C.

SaveStation cabinet is alarmed and monitored – and hasn’t been used yet

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read