Ferries to drop fuel rebate

B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says she is "extremely disappointed" by a plan by BC Ferries to remove fuel rebates, less than two months after the provincial government put a fare reduction strategy in place.

In a letter to BC Ferries board chairman Donald Hayes, Trevena writes that she was "surprised and disappointed" to learn last week that BC Ferries was planning to announce the removal of fuel rebates of 2.9 per cent on major and minor rates and 1.9 per cent on Northern routes.

She writes that she believes that action is contrary to the government's commitment to freeze ferry fares.

Trevena says she has indicated the government is willing to negotiate and provide funds to BC Ferries to avoid the increase and she is extremely disappointed that despite the government's request, BC Ferries has decided to move forward with fare hikes.

She says the ministry worked very closely with BC Ferries for several months to negotiate an agreement that enabled the government to commit to fare reduction strategies, which took effect April 1.

Those include fare freezes on three major routes, reduced fares on other routes by 15 per cent and the return of a 100 per cent discount on seniors' passenger fares Monday through Thursday.

BC Ferries was not immediately available for comment.

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