Oct 1, 2012 / 8:49 pm
BC Ferry customers will soon be paying more for less service.
British Columbia Ferry Services spokeswoman Deb Marshall said Monday ferry users can expect to see fare increases of 12 per cent over the next three years.
Cuts to service on the major routes between Victoria, Nanaimo and the Lower Mainland start on Oct. 13, she said.
BC Ferry Commissioner Gord Macatee approved the fare increases as part of his mandate as the independent regulator of the ferry service.
It means fares can increase by 4.1 per cent starting April 1, 2013, followed by another four per cent increase in April 2014 and a 3.9 per cent hike in April 2015.
Macatee is responsible for setting and enforcing the fare cap, which also permits fares to rise and fall depending on fuel costs.
Marshall said BC Ferries expects to use the full fare increase amount permitted by the cap.
"We have been going to the full maximum price cap because of our capital expenditure program," she said.
The BC government handed BC Ferries $80 million last June to keep fare increases in check after an earlier report suggested fares could rise between 16 per cent on the major routes and 80 per cent on northern and smaller routes.
Currently, it costs $157.90 for two adults in a vehicle to travel from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, return, on a BC Ferry.
BC Ferries' year-end financial report included losses of more than $16 million, with vehicle traffic at a 13-year low and the fewest passengers in 21 years.
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