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Hahn: drop in riders, revenue force BC Ferries job cuts

B.C. Ferry Services Inc. president and CEO David Hahn today confirmed in a press release that the company has already chopped 35 jobs and there are more cuts to come.

The cuts so far are mainly to management and administrative positions, the release said. “While no front line or ship based employees are directly impacted at this time by this corporate restructuring, further changes and possible lay-offs are anticipated in shore based positions including unionized staff,” it said quoting Hahn.

While the release made reference to "turbulent economic times", it quoted Hahn saying the cuts were due to fewer people riding the ferries: “In the face of a significant drop in ferry ridership and the resulting adverse impact on revenues, we must act to reduce the company’s management and administrative costs."

The announcement leaves a number of key questions unanswered. Why now? What will the company pay in severance? How much money will it save? Just how bad is the financial picture? With fares set to jump up again on February 1 after a two-month discount, what steps are being taken to raise ridership?

A call to B.C. Ferries' media line asking if Hahn would be taking questions today was not returned by publication time.

The Tyee reported yesterday that NDP ferry critic Gary Coons said the job losses show B.C. Ferries is in serious financial trouble.

B.C. Ferries is a private company owned by the B.C. government, which will spend $168 million on the company's services this fiscal year.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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