Monday, November 18, 2013

The BC Ferry crisis is a political one

First, the idea that gaming profits will help solve the transportation issue is worse than laughable. We know from experience that the beneficiaries will be BC Liberal friends, the ones that will operate on-ship gambling services. We'll have to ask the Minister of Graft and Corruption who those people will be. You can bet the pro-media pundits won't ask or speculate; they will wait patiently for a press release that announces the real winners.

Secondly, raising fares for seniors travelling on low traffic days will gain BC Ferries little. One of the reasons for allowing the discount was to shift traffic from busy to slack times. That benefit to the ferry corporation is lost. Experience demonstrates that ferry customers are sensitive to pricing and that is particularly true for people on fixed incomes. If senior couples must pay $133.50 instead of $102.50 for a return trip between Vancouver Island and the mainland, many will decide not to travel. Instead of BC Ferries gaining $31, they'll lose $102.50 instead.

Senior staff operating the ferry system have suffered cutbacks but above the ferry management are two boards of directors involving 18 Liberal friends, each paid five-figure rewards and given free ferry passes for themselves and their families. The boards oversee ferry management as do two additional welfare bums, ferry commissioners who grab six-figure rewards for days of part-time service. No changes are proposed to this comfortable system of patronage despite obvious evidence of failure.

I asked BC Ferries for backgrounders on the changes. Their response said Monday's announcement was a government initiative and BC Ferries had nothing to add. Thus, it is proven the "private" company is an adjunct of government to be pushed or pulled in whatever direction the politicians desire, whenever the politicians desire to push or pull.

If we examine the financial results of BC Ferries, it is clear that higher fares have resulted in lower utilization. The present government response is to increase fares yet more and cut service even further. However, look at the operating profits generated in recent years:

The amounts deducted after operating profits are largely financing costs and asset amortization. BC Ferries through egregious blunders of prior years pays about double what the BC Government pays for financing. That results in almost $40 million a year in extra charges. Additionally, the federal government is collecting roughly $40 million a year in GST and the province pockets over $10 million in carbon taxes each year and substantial amounts in fuel taxes.

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  1. It's sad that Minister Stone & the rest of the Liberal government does not have the honesty to include this information in it's media releases. Thanks Norm for bringing us the real facts as to why BC Ferries is nothing more than an ATM for the Liberal/Crony appointed friends. I keep asking myself every day, when will taxpayers in BC wake up and demand an end to the political corruption in this Province.

    Guy in Victoria

  2. Sadly the mainstream media is silent on most of this. I guess they are all about accepting government media releases without question and Rob Ford.

  3. Every other business, when faced with decreased sales, has a SALE to attract customers - they do NOT raise prices to offset lower revenues! These execs couldn't run a hot dog stand. They'd charge $100 a dog (plus extra for ketchup and mustard) to offset poor sales and then give themselves a bonus for coming up with such a brilliant idea. Idiots

    1. See bc ferry national post Nov 19

  4. CBC reports today BC Ferries is "currently trying to update an antiquated computer system" and hope to figure out how many people (employees, families and contractors) are riding the ferries free of charge.

    Why have we been paying huge salaries and bonuses to the dozens of dim bulbs managing this company if they don't know fundamental information like that?

  5. AT least the Liberals deliver on jobs, jobs to their friends and insiders full of cronyism and bloated salaries. Regular dupes that vote Liberal need not apply.



  8. How many executives and board directors have links to BC Liberal party.?

  9. A picture is worth a thousand words.Imagine a comic strip.?



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