A B.C. Transit bus makes its way along Sooke Road. Fuel prices are sure to have a long term impact on the service. (Sooke News Mirror)

Fuel prices smacking Island drivers, big and small

B.C. Transit, Ferries feel brunt of rising prices

Gas prices on Vancouver Island a have hit record highs with prices at the pumps hovering at about 161.9 cents a litre after some stations in Victoria had jumped to 164.9 in mid-April.

But as much as the increases have had an impact on the average driver, there are other consumers of fuel who are feeling the increases on an exponentially greater scale.

The impact of rising fuel costs is bound to be felt at B.C. Transit, said Susan Brice, chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission.

The region’s buses annually use about 9.4 million litres of fuel and this year’s budget of about $12 million for fuel was based on an average cost of $1.27 per litre, she said.

And though that amount of fuel is staggering, it pales when compared to the fuel costs for B.C. Ferries. It spent more than $100 million on fuel last year.

“Like everyone, we are closely monitoring the price of fuel,” said Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokesperson. “We do have a mechanism where we can add fuel surcharges or rebates (to ferry fees). Currently, neither are in place.”

On a much smaller scale, the impact of prices at the pumps can still have a serious effect on other transportation providers.

“This really hurts, especially when the rates for taxis haven’t changed for years,” said Tammy Hogg of WOW taxi in Sooke. “This is taking advantage of the people who need to drive. (This increase) came as a total shock, and it’s going to have a real impact on us being able to stay in business. We don’t have the authority to just raise our rates.”

RELATED: WHERE PENNIES GO AT THE PUMP

The price increases have resulted in growing pressure on Premier John Horgan. He was recently heckled by a passing motorist at a press conference at 17 Mile House.

“That one cent’s really killing you, buddy,” quipped Horgan at the time. He later expanded on the point, pointing the finger at refineries for failing to make enough gas to meet demand in the province.

“A one penny a litre increase on April 1 does not account for a 25 cent increase since that one cent was put in place,” Horgan said.

Horgan said that his government is monitoring the price of fuel in the province, but has proposed no measures to try to bring the prices down.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

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