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BC Ferries adding one per cent to cost of travel

Fuel surcharge to be levied as of March 1
GOING UP: Travel by BC Ferries will become more expensive on March 1 when the company adds a one per cent fuel surcharge to the price for passengers and vehicles.

BC Ferries is advising customers that due to current fuel market conditions, the company will implement a fuel surcharge of one per cent on March 1.

According to a media release, the company closely monitors the cost of fuel and applies a rebate or surcharge, or neither, under a regulatory process set by the BC Ferries commissioner.

The following is an example of what a one per cent fuel surcharge will be: five cents for an adult and 20 cents for a vehicle on a variety of inter-island routes, and 15 cents for an adult and 55 cents for a vehicle on the Metro Vancouver-Vancouver Island routes.

Over the past 18 years, BC Ferries has been using a fuel rebate/surcharge mechanism to manage the volatility in the price of fuel, according to the release. When fuel prices are lower, BC Ferries passes lower fuel prices on to customers through a fuel rebate. When fuel prices are higher, the company charges a fuel surcharge specifically designed to cover the additional cost of fuel. There have also been periods with neither, the release stated. The company does not benefit financially from surcharges or rebates, according to BC Ferries.

Significant investments have been made to reduce consumption of fuel and use cleaner, lower cost fuels, such as liquefied natural gas to replace the use of ultra-low sulphur diesel fuels, according to BC Ferries. Salish-class vessels operating between Westview Terminal (Powell River) and Little River Terminal (Comox) are an example.

The company is also introducing battery-equipped ships, such as Island Discovery, which operates between Blubber Bay Terminal (Texada Island) and Westview, designed for future full electric operation when shore charging infrastructure can be installed in BC.

Despite initiatives to burn fuel more efficiently, a fuel surcharge is necessary at this time, BC Ferries stated.

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