BC Ferries experienced its highest level of passenger traffic in over 20 years and its highest level of vehicle traffic ever during the three-month period ending June 30, according to the company’s quarterly earnings report.
BC Ferries’ net earnings in the first quarter totalled $6 million, a decrease from net earnings of $17.3 million for the same period last year. The report says the decrease was due to BC Ferries’ contributions to April 1 fare reductions and more sailings at popular times.
“Traffic across the system has grown and we are working hard to deliver the travel
experience our customers expect,” said BC Ferries president and CEO Mark Collins.
“However at these unprecedented traffic levels we know that some travellers and communities are seeing some delays,” he added. “To address this, we’ve added even more extra sailings this summer for the increased demand while maintaining key operational targets like safety and on-time performance.”
Fares on all routes except for three Metro Vancouver—Vancouver Island routes were reduced by 15 per cent at the start of the fiscal year. Passenger discounts for seniors were also increased from 50 per cent to 100 per cent for travel Monday to Thursday.
Both initiatives were being partly funded by BC Ferries over two years.
Due to increased traffic levels, revenues increased by 1.5 per cent to $229.7 million. “With traffic levels the highest our company has ever experienced we continue to add service where possible, resulting in higher operating expenses,” said Collins.
Expenses for the quarter increased by 7.8 per cent to $209.9 million as BC Ferries provided an additional 352 round trips to meet increased demand, implemented schedule adjustments for routes operating out of Horseshoe Bay terminal, and paid one-time reintroduction costs for the upgraded Spirit of British Columbia.
Looking ahead, BC Ferries is looking to acquire five new vessels to replace the aging assets in its fleet, and soliciting public feedback on how to revamp the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.
“BC Ferries looks to the future, ensuring it has the vessels and infrastructure to deliver sustainable service,” said Collins. “It’s important to continue to reinvest in the assets and systems to ensure we have the resilience to meet increasing demand.”
A full breakdown of the quarter’s revenue and expenses is available here.