About BC Ferries

President's Message

Returning Value to Customers and Communities

December 19, 2017

Mark Collins, President & CEO of BC Ferries

At BC Ferries, our mission is to connect the communities we serve with people and places important in their lives. We know affordability is important and BC Ferries actively seeks ways to return value to our customers. At times, this can be difficult to do, such as during the financially challenging period we experienced between 2008 and 2014. Even as we invested more than $1.6 billion in new infrastructure, declining traffic meant there were fare pressures and, in some cases, reduced service levels to match reduced demand. Now, with the increased traffic we’ve seen over the past two years, BC Ferries has introduced other ways to return value to customers and communities. I would like to highlight three examples. 

In 2016, BC Ferries voluntarily froze fares across most of our system. This multi-million dollar investment held fares at 2015 levels on minor and northern routes, as well as for passengers on major routes. In 2017, we also reduced the price of reservations. We were able to do this because increased traffic and resulting increased revenue put BC Ferries in a position to help improve affordability for our customers.

A second way we give back is by offering discounts and promotions that lower the cost of travel for customers at off-peak times. These initiatives have two main objectives. They improve affordability and free up space on popular sailings. Using the ferry system smarter provides value to all of our customers.

Another way we give back to communities is by increasing the number of sailings we provide. For example, the recently announced schedule improvements on the Sunshine Coast are a multi-million-dollar investment. Similarly, we annually provide hundreds of extra sailings to popular Gulf Islands destinations, such as this summer when we provided an extra 460 round trips over and above the published schedule. Better connectivity is highly valued by coastal communities and we try to do our part in connecting people to coastal British Columbia.

All this is on top of the $2.1 billion of capital that BC Ferries invested in ferry infrastructure since 2004 — retrofitting our older vessels, building new ships and maintaining and improving our terminals. We are committed to doing more. Over the coming ten years, BC Ferries will independently raise and invest a further $3.2 billion in British Columbia’s coastal ferry service. This rate of investment is approximately three times higher than it was pre-2003. Coastal communities have high expectations for the ferry system and rebuilding infrastructure is one way we strive to meet them.

We know an affordable ferry service is important. We also know that coastal residents want a ferry service that is robust, reliable, safe and sustainable for future generations. It takes careful balance to ensure we have prudent financials so we can provide affordable travel today and still invest in the ferry system for the future.

Thank you for your patronage this past year. All of us at BC Ferries wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Mark

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