OUR VIEW: Variable ferry fares a fix that benefits Islanders

We say: Good business practices are BC Ferries matter to us all

Ferry fares are going to start bobbing up and down, and there’s a possibility Island passengers could be better served because of it.

B.C. Ferries is planning to roll out variable pricing, with the most expensive fares at peak hours and discounted fares on the least-popular crossings.

The intention is to try to fill up some of the emptier, money-losing trips, with the added benefit of potentially relieving pressure elsewhere on the sailing schedule.

It’s a tried-and-true model used by other types of transportation companies, such as airlines, which would go out of business in a hurry if they sent half-full jumbo jets flying around the globe.

Good business practice at B.C. Ferries matters to British Columbians who subsidize the corporation.

Dollars and cents can’t always be the primary consideration – ferries are an essential transportation link and must provide a service – but any relief from subsidies and fare increases will be appreciated, now and in the future.

A new fare model is likely to benefit Island residents who understand ferry ridership patterns and plan our travel accordingly, avoiding the worst of the long-weekend lineups.

Part of us hopes that variable pricing might end up as a sort of tax on tourists who aren’t as familiar with the ferry system.

It’s a selfish notion, perhaps, but certainly we on Vancouver Island will continue to pay our fair share of rising fares.

Some commuters, unfortunately, will get dinged by the variable fare scheme, and for any of us, peak-hour ferry rides will be unavoidable sometimes.

Ultimately, we’re going to be taking the ferry no matter what, and paying the fares we’re charged.

If B.C. Ferries can find better ways to make its service efficient, affordable and sustainable, then hey, that floats our boat.

-Black Press