Year-end stats for BC Ferries show a massive drop in traffic brought on chiefly by the COVID-19 pandemic, the transportation service says.

According to the statistics, the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2021, showed a 40 per cent drop in passenger traffic and a 24 per cent drop in vehicle traffic compared to last year.

BC Ferries pointed the finger squarely at COVID-19 in a statement on Friday, saying the pandemic has had “unprecedented consequences” on their revenues.

They add, however, that financial results are expected to improve, through Safe Restart funding and as travel restrictions ease.

Safe Restart funding from the federal and provincial governments included $308 million in December 2020 for BC Ferries.

“We recognize the vital contributions from the federal and provincial governments with the Safe Restart funding,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’
President and CEO.

“This funding has also helped us to protect the long-term viability of the coastal ferry service.”

BC Ferries says the funding has helped offset revenue losses and keep fare increases low. Without Safe Restart dollars, the company says they would have suffered a revenue loss of 27.8 per cent instead of 8.1 per cent.

Capital expenditures and operating expenses were also cut, with an 8.9 per cent reduction in operating expenses. Capital expenditures totalled $122.0 million this year, down from $238.1 million in the previous year.

Despite these cuts, BC Ferries’ says they are on track to receive new vessels such as the one currently en route from Romania. This battery-powered vessel and others of its type are is set to go into service in 2022.

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