BC Ferry Commission Sets Price Cap at 3.2% for Next Four Years

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Oct. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The British Columbia Ferry Commission today announced its final decision on the price cap for BC Ferries’ next four-year performance term (PT6). The Commissioner will allow average ferry fares to increase by a maximum of 3.2% annually from April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2028.

“A maximum 3.2% increase in annual fares will, I believe, be sufficient to allow BC Ferries to meet the financial demands of the upcoming performance term, while at the same time providing British Columbians with safe, reliable and affordable ferry service,” says Commissioner Eva Hage.

The final price cap is markedly lower than the preliminary 9.2% proposed by the Commission in March 2023, due to additional one-time funding of $500 million from the provincial government. “This extra funding will help to alleviate a significant amount of the pressure facing our ferry system in the next performance term, and has allowed us to cap fares at a much lower level than anticipated,” says Hage.

In her report, however, Hage warns of the many demands facing the ferry system in the years ahead. The Commissioner cites ongoing labour supply issues, rising fuel prices and the escalating expenses associated with maintaining an ageing fleet, and she expresses concerns with BC Ferries’ steep projected increase in operating costs – forecast to be 40% higher in 2025 than in 2022.

“While the government’s additional $500 million has allowed us to cap fare increases in line with inflation for the next four years, we must remember that this is one-time funding,” says Hage. “The cost to operate the ferry system is increasing and will continue to increase at a rate higher than inflation.”

Hage’s price cap decision stipulates that BC Ferries must prepare a plan outlining how it will track actual capital expenditures against the forecast submitted to the Commission and how it will measure the cost and service effectiveness of its investments in human resources.

More detailed information on the PT6 price cap is set out in the Commissioner’s Report on the Final Price Cap Decision for the Sixth Performance Term.

About the British Columbia Ferry Commission:
The British Columbia Ferry Commission (BCFC) provides independent oversight of BC Ferries’ regulated ferry service. BCFC’s role is to hold ferry service providers accountable to the people of BC, balancing the interests of ferry users and taxpayers with the financial sustainability of the ferry operator.

The Commissioner’s primary responsibility is to regulate fares by setting the price cap. Additionally, they approve or set conditions for major capital expenditures, monitor BC Ferries to ensure that it adheres to its service contract with the provincial government, regulate unfair competitive advantage, conduct performance reviews, and encourage BC Ferries to meet provincial greenhouse gas emission targets, to innovate, and to minimize costs while maintaining safe and reliable services.

British Columbia Ferry Commission
Eva Hage, Commissioner
Piet Langstraat, Deputy Commissioner
250 952-0112

Media Contact:
Susan Kerschbaumer Communications
250 217-5074