Ferries subsidy shakeup needed

Inland ferries should perhaps help subsidize coastal runs

Re: Tough decisions needed by Ferries (Our View, Nov. 22)

I agreed with your comments for the most part, but you were a little over the top about the slot machines. Their use is optional, so maxed-out passengers can just ignore them and thus incur no cost, but I do acknowledge that it raises the question of enabling those addicted to gambling.

As a senior I am sorry to lose my free travel Monday to Thursday, but I do understand. I enjoyed it while it lasted. Maybe a happy compromise might be to give us old folks 50 per cent off seven days a week and thus encourage us to travel more often.

Your comments about those living on smaller islands having chosen their lifestyles (“Forcing the majority to pay through ever-higher fares to service the minority doesn’t make sense”) are true and it had to be said, but I am sure it didn’t make you a lot of friends. It does raise another issue that maybe should be discussed.

There is always talk that the ferries are part of the highway system and should be subsidized. Fair comments to be sure, but we must also address why the inland freshwater ferries, operated by the Ministry of Transportation, are 100 per cent subsidized and free to use.

To follow your reasoning above, are we on the coast not subsidizing, through our tax dollars, the lifestyle choices of those who live in the B.C. Interior and use those ferries?

Here’s two options: Make all ferries free. Can you imagine the boom in the tourism sector, among others, on all of the islands?

Or, have the inland ferries charge a reasonable amount, with the revenue used to subside the coastal ferries. Either option is more fair than what we have now.

Peter Dutton

Central Saanich