Bowen ferry run posts $5 million loss


(The Bowen Island Undercurrent, November 18th 1994, p1: with permission)

Despite a large boost in revenue, losses on the Bowen Island ferry run jumped by 36 per cent in the last fiscal year.

According to B.C. Ferry Corporation's just-released 1993-94 annual report, revenue on the Bowen route increased by 11 per cent to about $3.4 million in the year ended last March 31.

But expenses -- including depreciation -- grew by 24 per cent in the same period to $8.4 million.

The route ended up losing just under $5 million.

"Financially, the year was difficult," the report says.

It says the $4.8 million increase in operating loss was the result of higher wages to its 2,700 permanent and 1,400 casual workers, higher debt charges and greater depreciation costs.

On all of its 33 routes, the company lost a total of $58 million, which was partly offset by a $36 million provincial grant.

The government reduced the size of the grant by $5 million last year.

The Crown corporation spent $200,000 giving free passage in connection with the Commonwealth Games in Victoria last summer.

This does not include the cost of providing a large ferry to transport the Canadian team from Vancouver to Victoria.

During the year, B.C. Ferries carried almost 22 million passengers -- but each one cost taxpayers an average of $1.77, not counting depreciation.

The company is now in debt to the tune of $143 million, up $22 million from the previous year.

The money is owed to the provincial tax payers.

Page last updated 99-03-05