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Ferry advisors seek fare freeze during review

Fares should be frozen until the BC Ferry Commissioner completes his review of the law governing the provincial ferry system, said Tony Law, a member of the Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs.

But the transportation minister says such a freeze just isn't realistic.

"While we support the review in terms of a need to modify structures that work imperfectly, we're also looking for short term action," said Law. The FACC, who represent ferry using communities, were in Victoria for meetings this week, including one with the minister responsible for transportation and infrastructure, Blair Lekstrom.

Freezing ferry fares would require the province to increase its subsidy to the ferry company, he said. "It still comes down to the province to provide adequate support," he said. The FACC would be willing to discuss service reductions if fares are frozen, he said.

NDP MLAs raised similar questions in the legislature today, but Lekstrom did not commit to a freeze.

Lekstrom said in an interview that he heard the request for a freeze during yesterday's meeting with the FACC. "I was very upfront with them in the meeting as well, it's not realistic, as much as people would like to see that," he said.

Affordability has to be balanced with BC Ferries financial sustainability, he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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