The Coastal Ferry Services Contract permits BC Ferries to apply to the Commission for authorization to discontinue a route under section 44 of the Coastal Ferry Act. To date, BC Ferries has not applied for permission to discontinue serving any of its 24 routes.
According to the Coastal Ferry Act, in assessing an application for authorization to discontinue service, the Commission must consider whether:
- another form of affordable transportation exists or is likely to be established to link the locations served by the designated ferry route;
- it is possible to operate the designated ferry route economically at an affordable tariff level;
- the Province is willing to reduce the core ferry services required on, or increase its service fee contribution for, the designated ferry route; and
- an extraordinary drop in traffic has occurred because of a change in the local economy or some other unanticipated factor.
The Commissioner must not authorize the discontinuance of a designated route unless:
- BC Ferries has made a suitable economic case for the route’s discontinuance; and
- the Commissioner is satisfied that increasing tariffs on the route would not, because of a reduction in user demand or otherwise, result in revenues on the route increasing to the extent necessary to enable economic operation of the route.
The Commissioner may hold a public hearing before authorizing a route discontinuance.
Under the Coastal Ferry Services Contract between the Province and BC Ferries, if a vessel becomes surplus to BC Ferries’ requirements as a result of a route discontinuance, BC Ferries may require the Province to purchase the surplus vessel for net book value, provided that BC Ferries has used all reasonable commercial efforts to redeploy the surplus vessel to another ferry route in British Columbia.