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BC Ferries sees record-breaking number of vehicle passengers

The Swartz Bay ferry terminal is pictured on July 30, 2021: (CTV News) The Swartz Bay ferry terminal is pictured on July 30, 2021: (CTV News)

BC Ferries says it transported a record-setting number of vehicles in its 2023 fiscal year, which ended on March 31.

A total of 9.4 million vehicles and 21.6 million passengers travelled aboard a BC Ferries vessel during fiscal 2023.

Those totals marked an increase of 11 per cent in vehicle traffic, and a 21 per cent increase in passenger traffic, compared to fiscal 2022.

BC Ferries notes that the lifting of travel restrictions in fiscal 2023 is a main reason why passenger totals increased significantly compared to the year before.


During fiscal 2023, BC ferries said it cancelled 1.6 per cent of its sailings, up from 1.2 per cent in fiscal 2022, largely because of crew shortages.

"Like many companies facing staffing challenges, we are working hard to fill key positions to meet our commitment to our customers to deliver the service they rely on each and every day," said BC Ferries CEO Nicolas Jimenez in a statement Thursday.

"We know that even one cancellation is one too many for the millions of travellers who depend on the coastal ferry system," he said.

Total revenue for fiscal 2023 was $1.04 billion, according to BC Ferries, an increase of $77.4 million from the year before – or roughly eight per cent.

BC Ferries notes that this increase is also primarily due to the lifting of travel restrictions.

Overall, BC Ferries saw a net loss of $1.8 million in fiscal 2023. The year before, it saw a net increase of $34.1 million, but the company notes that the prior year's total includes a $102.3 million boost from the federal government through its "Safe Restart Agreement."

Without that major boost, the company would have seen a net loss of $68.2 million in fiscal 2022, according to BC Ferries.

The company's operating expenses also rose 14.2 per cent in fiscal 2023, up from $868 million in fiscal 2022 to $991.5 million in fiscal 2023.

BC Ferries says the increase in expenses is mainly due to operating more sailings – which increases labour costs and fuel consumption – as well as an increase in fuel prices and maintenance work.

"Despite high inflation and operating costs, we will continue to invest in our most valuable asset, our people, who are the backbone of BC Ferries," said Jimenez.

"I am constantly impressed by their commitment to provide the best possible customer experience for every passenger who travels with us." Top Stories

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