Ferry Users Face Another Blow As Fuel Surcharge Adds To 2014 fare hikes

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VICTORIA — The announcementof another fuel surchargemeans ferry fares will rise by morethan seven per cent in the nextthree months, and that hike will bea significant blow to coastal communitiesand the provincial economy,say New Democrats.“As if a four per cent ferry farehike coming in April wasn’tenough, B.C. Ferries users will nowbe hit with a 3.5 per cent fuel surchargestarting this month,” saidNew Democrat ferries critic ClaireTrevena. “Since the Liberals havebeen mismanaging our ferry system,fares on some routes haverisen by more than 100 per cent.Transportation Minister ToddStone needs to stop proposingshort-sighted cuts and fix this criticalsystem.”Trevena says these increases comealongside more bad news foraffordability across the province.On Jan. 1, MSP premiums rose forthe fifth year in a row, while tollson the Port Mann Bridge doubled.In April, hydro rates will jump bynine per cent. “Families in B.C. arestruggling to make ends meet, andyet the Liberal government isrolling out one fee increase afteranother while making reckless cutsto services British Columbiansdepend on.”Under the B.C. Liberals, ferry ridershiphas fallen, fares haveclimbed, debt at the corporationhas ballooned, the government hasfailed to curb exorbitant executivebonuses, and now people up anddown the coast are facing devastatingservice cuts, said Trevena.