November 18, 2013 - 12:29 PM
VICTORIA - The B.C. government is cutting some ferry routes starting next April, axing full discounts for seniors and considering slot machines on vessels to raise revenue.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the cuts on minor routes will mostly affect communities with ridership of less than 20 per cent and that the changes are expected to save $14 million.
Cuts to major routes will also be made, for overall savings of $18.9 million by 2016.
Stone says cancelling free Monday-to-Thursday sailings for seniors will bring in $6 million a year and that the popular program will be replaced by a 50-per-cent fare starting April 1.
He says a pilot project involving slot machines on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen run could become part of a permanent revenue-generating program as overall ridership falls.
Stone says the government will hold consultations in about two dozen communities until Dec. 20, but the changes have already been made in order to keep the system affordable, efficient and sustainable for years to come.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2013