Last year BC Ferries lost $2.2 million operating the Quadra Island ferry. The previous fiscal year they lost $3.5 million. File photo/Campbell River Mirro

Quadra and Cortes ferries run multi-million dollar deficits

A $2.2 million loss in 2017 and a $3.5 million loss in 2016 on the Quadra Island ferry route is business as usual for BC Ferries said Deborah Marshall, executive director of public affairs for BC Ferries.

“None of the minor and northern routes turn a profit,” she said. “In fact, only two routes in our system turn a profit after capital charges. (Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route and Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay). Profits from these major routes cross-subsidize the rest of the routes.”

The ferry to Cortes also lost $2.3 million in 2017 and almost $2.1 million in 2016, according to the annual report to the BC ferry commissioner.

According to Marshall, the Coast Ferry Services Contract recognizes that minor routes require a contribution from the province. Last fiscal year the province contributed $155 million and the federal-provincial subsidy agreement was $29 million.

“These fees are allocated across minor and northern routes and do not impact fare structure,” Marshall said.

BC Ferries major costs are labour, fuel, repair and maintenance and capital charges Marshall said.

“The loss per route on an annual basis is impacted by the vessel refit requirements which differ from year to year,” she explained.

Each year the company monitors costs and looks for cost savings where possible, she said. They also look for opportunities to make money such as catering, retail sales, BC Ferries Vacations and commercial drop trailer services.

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