Starting next month, after Labour Day weekend, all regular passenger fares will be 50% off during off-peak times. The BC Ferries statement also hints at more discounts for late fall and next spring that customers will enjoy.

From September 8 through October 15 (Monday to Thursday), at off-peak times on all major and minor routes, regular passenger fares will be discounted 50 per cent and for the month of October, regular passenger fares will be discounted by 50 per cent on all sailings on the northern routes.

“This promotion allows us an opportunity this fall to test variable pricing concepts in order to understand their impact on traffic trends, customer responses, and operations,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO.

“This will help us gather information as we prepare pricing strategies for our Fare Flexibility and Digital Experience Initiative in 2017, which will make variable pricing a permanent part of our service delivery model.”

The BC Ferries fare cut was announced at its annual general meeting in Vancouver on Friday along with first quarter results that show an increase in net earnings of $18.8 million, up from $13.9 million in the first quarter of last year.  These positive earnings reflect the results of favourable traffic and increased retail sales, among other contributing factors.

“The fact that the positive trend in B.C. tourism and in our passenger traffic is going against the general trend in the Canadian economy makes it difficult to say exactly how long it will last, however we intend to leverage the resulting strong financial results to keep fare increases at approximately the rate of inflation, fund our $3 billion capital program to replace aging vessels, terminal and information technology infrastructure, as well as test variable pricing promotions for the remainder of this fiscal year,” said Corrigan.

Across the system, passenger traffic increased 5.0 per cent and vehicle traffic increased 4.7 per cent, as compared to the first quarter last year.  During the three months ended June 30, 2015, BC Ferries provided over 41,000 sailings, carrying over five million passengers and two million vehicles.

The Breakdown:

• BC Ferries announced today a major fleet-wide pricing promotion of 50 per cent savings on all regular passenger fares coming soon.

• From September 8 through October 15 on the major and minor routes, the 50 per cent passenger fare discount will be in effect Monday through Thursday on select middle of the day sailings and on Saturday afternoon and evening sailings.

• From October 1 – 31 on the northern routes, the half-price discount for all passengers will apply on all sailings.   • For example, adult passengers on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route will save $8.45 during the promotion.  This rate is similar to the fare from 1997.

• For example, adult passengers travelling on the Port Hardy – Prince Rupert Inside Passage route will save $72.75 during the promotion.  This rate is similar to the fare 12 years ago.

• During the promotion, Monday through Thursday, BC Seniors travelling on the major and minor routes will receive a 50 per cent discount off the regular seniors’ fare during this promotion, so they’ll pay just 25 per cent of the regular adult passenger fare.

• During the promotion, Experience Card, Northern Resident and Group Discounts will be increased to match the promotional discounts of 50 per cent off the regular fare.

• This off-peak pricing promotion will not apply on Thanksgiving Monday (October 12) on the major and minor routes, as traditionally that day is always a busy day for ferry travel.   • For the purpose of this promotion, the major routes are the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island and Horseshoe Bay – Langdale routes.  The minor routes are the Southern and Northern Gulf Island routes and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay Sointula route.  • For the purpose of this promotion, the northern routes are the Port Hardy – Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert – Haida Gwaii, Alliford Bay – Skidegate routes and the Discovery Coast connector.

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