B.C. is setting aside $500 million to offset projected future fare hikes at BC Ferries and fund electrification of the Crown corporation’s fleet.
Premier David Eby said Sunday (Feb. 26) their goal is to keep marine transportation as affordable as possible.
The latest numbers from BC Ferries show global inflation and rising fuel costs could push the corporation to raise fares as much as 10.4 per cent a year for the next four years, according to Eby. With the $500 million investment, the province is aiming to keeping those hikes to under three per cent a year.
Eby noted it will ultimately be up to BC Ferries commissioner to determine hikes, however.
Long-term, he said investing in electrifying BC Ferries’ fleet of 39 boats will also steady fares by removing its reliance on the ever-changing fuel market.
Transportation minister Rob Fleming said it will be up to BC Ferries how it divvies up the $500 million, but that some of it will certainly go to building shore power charging infrastructure. No timelines on electrification have been set.
The BC Ferries Commissioner has until March 31 to announce the preliminary annual fare increases for the next four years. Those will be finalized on Sept. 30.