NEWS RELEASE – from the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC)
5 DECEMBER 2013 – While the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs have not yet succeeded in figuring out how the provincial government's ferry cuts will safeguard the coastal ferry system, they do think they've found the sweet spot for the least painful possible service cuts.
"If the government's goal is to find the biggest savings for the smallest traffic loss and least hardship, then we suggest it looks harder at the major routes, and at the big money-losing route hiding behind the profit-makers," says Brian Hollingshead of the Southern Gulf Islands.
The three major routes (from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island) are the giants of the system. Yet they're facing the slimmest of cuts compared to the 22 smaller routes.See chart*
The three major routes are considered the ferry system's profit makers. Yet one of those routes is one of the system's biggest money losers.
The Tsawwassen-Duke Point route has been losing money for at least ten years. In each of the last five years it has lost somewhere between $24 million to $30 million a year.
The route has an average capacity utilization of 48%. It could stand to lose one of its four shifts on weekdays for ten months a year and still have room for all its traffic. A combination of consultation and a revised reservation system could produce a schedule to accommodate the freight and commercial carriers who use the route heavily.
These cuts to Tsawwassen-Duke Point alone would save $9.6 million. The two profit-making major routes also could be trimmed more. With their massive scale, they can absorb cuts without the drastic impacts and community hardship that will be felt on the smaller routes
The government could use these savings from the major routes to buy time: to develop a business case for cuts to the smaller routes; to conduct social and economic impact assessments on the communities for which they're lifeline transportation; and to reverse any cuts that don't make sense.
While the government considers this suggestion, the FACC will continue to ask them for the detailed information they have used to develop the current cuts plan.
The FACC also continue to ask Transportation Minister Todd Stone to explain to ferry-dependent communities how the current cuts plan will fix the current barrier of the high fares, and how it will advance the government's goals for jobs and the economy.
*An update to the Chart has been made, please visit http://www.cortesisland.com/tideline/show6415a0x50y1z/CORRECTION_Ferry_cuts_The_sweet_spot_
to read the revised note with updated chart.
Route 30-Tsawwassen-Duke Point (32 KB pdf)http://facchairs.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/986/ http://facchairs.wordpress.com
Tony Law Hornby-Denman 250-405-5151/250-335-1155 tlaw1telus.net
Brian Hollingshead S. Gulf Islands 604-421-5804/250-539-5191 hollingsheadtelus.net
Harold Swierenga Salt Spring Island 250-653-4950 haroldswierengagmail.com
Ian Cameron Brentwood-Mill Bay 250-652-1260 iancuvic.ca
Keith Rush Thetis-Penelakut 250-416-0013 keithrush17gmail.com
John Hodgkins Gabriola 250-325-5646 jchodgkinsshaw.ca
Alison Morse Bowen Island 604-947-9875 amm5shaw.ca
Joyce Clegg Gambier-Keats 604-886-2763 jacleggprimesignal.com
Barry Cavens S. Sunshine Coast 604-886-8696 bcavensdccnet.com
Bill Cripps N. Sunshine Coast 604-485-6563 wccrippstelus.net
Paul Ryan Quadra-Cortes 250-285-3896 pryanisland.net
Jo Mrozewski Tri-Islands 250-974-9913 jorunninglight.ca
Evan Putterill North and Central Coast 250-637-1443 sqcrd.area.e.directorlive.com