Kirk & Co. were engaged to assess public & stakeholders opinions regarding measures to ameliorate BC Ferries financial operating losses.
BC Ferries operates one of the largest integrated marine transportation networks in the world. Despite being comparable in efficiency with the world’s best services, rising costs and declining ridership have created a financial challenge for the corporation. BC Ferries lost more than $16 million in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.
The independent BC Ferry Commissioner noted in his January 2012 report that, without changes, increasing costs and the ongoing need to replace aging vessels could drive funding shortfalls to $56 million a year within the next five years. These shortfalls would have to be recovered through one or more of the following mechanisms: operating efficiencies, additional fare increases, service adjustments (mostly reductions), increased contributions from taxpayers or other forms of contributions from coastal communities.
Consequently Kirk initiated a 'Public and Stakeholder Consultation and Engagement', held from October 29 to December 21, 2012, designed to consult and engage the public and stakeholders about the depth and nature of the challenges facing the coastal ferry system and invited feedback and input on two areas under consideration:
1. Immediate Challenge: The first part of the consultation and engagement sought feedback on the considerations to achieve $26 million in savings to 2016.
2. Long-Term Vision: The second part of the consultation and engagement invited feedback on what strategies should be pursued to achieve the long-term vision of connecting coastal communities in an affordable, efficient and sustainable manner.
The full results of that consultation are available here.