COWICHAN VALLEY — Adding extra ferry surcharges is only pouring fuel on the fire for irate Vancouver Island residents, according to Keith Rush, chairman of the Thetis and Penelakut Island ferry advisory committee.
“This is a real blow to our community and just really speaks to the fact that the current model that governments are continuing to push is broken and really does need fixing,” Rush said.
When fuel prices get higher than what the ferry commissioner allows for fare increases, Ferries is allowed to add a surcharge.
The surcharge, Rush said, is three-and-a-half per cent on the minor routes, but that’s only on a cash fare. For regular riders, the increase will be more.
Island residents are continuing to push the provincial government and B.C. Ferries to listen to coastal concerns.
“We’ve just finished this 18-month-long community consultation process, so the letter-writing has been fast and furious and all sorts of people have voiced their disapproval about the lack of consultation with communities,” Rush said.
No one is going to let this drop because the effect of schedule cuts and fare increases is hurtful, he said.
“Of course, our ferry here, the MV Kuper, goes to Penelakut Island as well and again the Penelakut Tribe continues to be hard hit by these ferry increases. And this one has sort of come out of the blue. I don’t track diesel futures but I really thought the price of gas had stabilized over the last few months, but I guess I’m wrong.”