Not playing fare:

BC Ferries had this coming

By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer

Mike Corrigan, the CEO of BC Ferries, strikes me as a smart guy. I don’t know him personally, but his public statements tend to be top notch. He’s gone on record as saying that the lack of ferry ridership can be blamed on the weak global economy. Fair enough, Mike. However, didn’t the BC Ferries raise fares again just last month? Maybe I’m missing something here, but if a weak economy is to blame, that means people probably have less money to spend. Increasing fares when bank accounts are scraping empty. To quote the eternal wisdom of Dodgeball, “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.”

Iron Mike and his band of merry boatmen managed to put up a $16.5-million deficit for this last year. $16.5 million. Being the sort of person who rejoices upon finding a loonie on the sidewalk, such massive figures are always mind-boggling to me. How does one manage that? Did I miss the construction of the second PacifiCat fleet?

It has been pointed out that the ferries are struggling, not from a lack of tourists using the service, but because of the lack of locals. I know I’m beating a horse that’s already been hung, drawn, and quartered here, but why on earth do they think they’re losing their regular traffic? Excessively high fares. Resident ferry goers put up with several increases over the years, but sometime in the not too distant past, one of those escalations marked the threshold of consumer refusal.

[quote style=”boxed”]Resident ferry goers put up with several increases over the years, but sometime in the not too distant past, one of those escalations marked the threshold of consumer refusal.[/quote]

Of course, it’s just not a party if a few high-ranking staff members don’t manage to weasel out some exorbitant funds from the coffers, so BC Ferries didn’t fail to live up to expectations. Ex BC Ferries head honcho, David Hahn, reeled in a remarkable $1.13 million, while fan favourite Mike Corrigan stepped into Hahn’s shoes and provided himself with a hefty raise this year, going from a paltry $540,615 to the slightly more respectable sum of $915,615. Several other higher-ups received figures in the $700,000 range. The term “stupid money” has never fit better.

But while I’m busy slagging this money-grabbing enterprise, I’d just like to say that I’m happy that they chose to stimulate the BC economy several years ago when getting new ferries. That work not only provided jobs to hardworking Canadian citizens, but it also gave us several honest Canadian products to be proud of.

Oh wait—they didn’t.

At least I can take some consolation from the fact that good ol’ Mike knows the company is in trouble. They predicted losses of $20 million for this year, so Corrigan had this to say about their $16.5 million in the red, “We did better than budget so, all things considered, I thought it was a good year and a good financial performance for the company.”

Sigh.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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