Pay the Ferryman; it only costs an arm and a leg

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Note: this post was originally written at the beginning of May. I forgot to push “publish”. Tense has been edited to make more sense to it being published now.

I honestly would probably be perfectly fine with a bridge from Vancouver to Vancouver Island.

It’s not that I don’t like boat rides. The ferry itself has done nothing to annoy me.

It’s the company that runs the boats that go between the islands.

They’ve raised the prices again. Now instead of $14.85 for a walk-on ticket, it’s $15.56. Every week from the beginning of May until June 17th, I spent over 30 dollars just to ride a boat back and forth.

Well, maybe they need to raise their prices so they can give you better services! you say, if you’ve never had to deal with BC Ferries in your life.

What services? The hard seats that squeak when you sit down? The overpriced gift store? The cafeteria of food poisoning roulette, now only 16 bucks for a portion size that wouldn’t fill up a mouse’s stomach? The decided lack of wi-fi (“coming soon, no, really, we promise”)?

Nope, raised ticket prices go one place, and one place only: to pad the salaries of the head honchos.

This is what privatizing essential services does. This is capitalism in action.

When I went to Spring Mysteries Fest this year on Easter weekend, we had to take a Washington State Ferry to get to the festival. (Theoretically we could have skipped the ferry and driven south all the way to Olympia before heading north again, but who would want to do that?)

I nearly had a heart attack when they asked me for the fare. I had 3 people in my car. It cost us under 20 dollars for all of us and the vehicle. I was sure I was dreaming; I’d dozed off while in the lineup and my brain was making up crazy scenarios to try and wake me up.

Nope. Really only cost about 16 bucks.

4 people plus a car on BC Ferries costs well over a hundred dollars.

Something’s wrong with this picture. Hint: it’s north of the border.

So BC Ferries rolled out the Experience Card, to try and give us hardworking British Columbians a bit of a discount. Except that the card is available for anyone, resident or not, and it’s not applicable for all routes. When I asked why I didn’t get a discount for using my card travelling between Nanaimo and Vancouver, the employee working the ticket booth told me it was because there wasn’t anything in Vancouver that I couldn’t get on the Island.

Ikea, sex shops, and hospitals that don’t misdiagnose you, give you a concussion, and discharge you don’t apparently count.

So a bridge across the Salish Sea would be okay by me. Especially a Skytrain bridge. I could have taken transit to my last class at VIU this summer, or easily visit my friends in Nanaimo anytime I want.

And I wouldn’t have to deal with quite so many screaming hellspawn.

-Kat

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