01/17/2014 03:26 EST | Updated 03/19/2014 05:59 EDT

BC Ferries Rate Increases Slammed By NDP

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VICTORIA - A constant wave of fare increases at BC Ferries is hurting Vancouver Island's economy, and the B.C. New Democrats say it has to stop.

Opposition NDP ferries critic Claire Trevena says today's 3.5 per cent increase to cover rising fuel costs is the first of what will total more than seven per cent of fare increases in the first four months of the year.

A four per cent increase is scheduled to take effect on April 1.

Trevena says Transportation Minister Todd Stone should stop the increases because the economies of small coastal communities like Bella Coola and Port Hardy are suffering.

The one-way fare for a car and driver to travel from Victoria to Vancouver is $66.75.

The ferry fare increases are mandated under the Coastal Ferry Act as part of an approved improvement plan that includes finding savings of more than $54 million.

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