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90 per cent oppose 'grab' of pre-paid ferry tickets

BC Ferries vessel Coastal Celebration preparing to load at Tsawwassen terminal. - File
BC Ferries vessel Coastal Celebration preparing to load at Tsawwassen terminal.
— image credit: File

There's widespread opposition to BC Ferries' decision to stop honouring certain types of pre-paid ferry tickets, according to a poll paid for by the Consumers Association of Canada.

The Angus Reid survey found 90 per cent of B.C. residents want all types of pre-paid fares either honoured or reimbursed and a similar proportion say the provincial government should intervene if necessary.

CAC president Bruce Cran said the results are more evidence the ferry corporation should back down from its plan to keep $1.2 million worth of assured-loading tickets or cards bought in advance by nearly 16,000 customers.

"I think it's finally come to a head with this vicious grab of pre-paid money that in the past people have been able to use or roll over," Cran said.

"We're hoping that Premier Christy [Clark] will be guided by the wishes of the people and do something to straighten this ferry situation out."

BC Ferries says the pre-paid passes for assured loading on major routes always expired after two years, but last year it began enforcing the policy, making the cards useless six months after the expiry date. Users were given repeated email warnings in advance.

Previously, customers could roll unused balances over into a new card.

Meanwhile, ferry riders are bracing for fare increases that kick in April 1.

It will cost an average of three per cent more to ride major routes and at least six per cent more on others.

The fare for a car and driver crossing from Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island climbs $2 to $61.50, while walk-on passengers will pay $14.25, up 50 cents.

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