20 February 2009

BC Govt privatizes BC Ferries to save money

Then the new company raises fares and subsequently loses ridership and money - which was predicted in a study done years before.
Fares have increased by roughly 50 percent since the B.C. Liberal government privatized the former Crown corporation in 2003.

A 1997 B.C. Ferries study found that on the minor routes a bump in fares of 10 per cent would decrease the number of users by three per cent. On the major routes the decrease would be five per cent....

Looks like the predictions were just about right. According to the company's press release issued late today (another late Friday media release!), over the nine-month period ending December 31, vehicle and passenger levels were down 5.1 and 4.5 percent, respectively.

Of greater importance, the privatization of BC Ferries meant turning over a necessary public service to the "free" market. This has meant fewer businesses able to ship goods, and fewer people able to travel among the islands or to and from the mainland and Vancouver Island.

(The ferry routes are our watery equivalent to a highway between major centres.)

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