Transportation minister wants the public, not the bottom line, to be BC Ferries focus

Transportation minister wants the public, not the bottom line, to be BC Ferries focus

WATCH: New legislation from the transportation minister will make changes to the Coastal Ferry Act.  The focus of the changes is to improve service, sustainability and make the company corporation more accountable. Mary Griffin reports.

More ferries, more service. The province announced earlier this year it is restoring ferry runs for Gabriola Island, Quadra Island, Texada Island and Cortes Island, as well as the Crofton-Vesuvius as soon as this spring. Now Transportation Minister Claire Trevena is focusing on the public.

“I have introduced amendments that will strengthen the Coastal Ferry Act to better support the ferry service that meets the needs of people living in coastal communities that rely on BC Ferries,” Trevena said Wednesday.

The changes include:

  • Requiring the BC Ferries commissioner to prioritize public interest when regulating ferry services, including consideration of the province’s greenhouse gas emission targets;
  • Increase the number of BC Ferry Authority directors appointed by the government from two to four, to bring a greater public interest perspective to the role of BC Ferries’ shareholders
  • Expands the definition of ‘executive’ at BC Ferries to include ‘vice-presidents,’ to provide greater transparency and oversight of executive compensation
  • Require the BC Ferry Authority to set term limits when appointing directors to the BC Ferries Services Board, to improve the oversight of BC Ferries

“The amendments to the Coastal Ferry Act are not intended to interfere with the financial decision making at BC Ferries. They are intended to improve accountability and allow for the public interest to be considered in the regulation and oversight of BC Ferries,” Trevena said.

In addition to the amendments, the government says it’ll continue with fare reductions on smaller and northern routes by 15 per cent, as well as the fare freeze on other routes.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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