These days, it costs $15.50 per passenger and $51.25 per vehicle to ride the ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. But soon B.C. Ferries passengers who are feeling lucky may have the chance to win back the cost of their fares (or lose their life savings).
That's right, the B.C. government is considering turning the province's ferries into floating casinos. The news came in the form of a press release today (November 18) that also describes various ferry service cuts. The release states:
The government of B.C. is also considering the introduction of a pilot project to assess the viability of gaming, and is seeking feedback on introducing gaming as a permanent revenue-generating program on major routes between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. The pilot project would be implemented on BC Ferries' busiest route between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen. If successful, gaming revenue would help reduce the pressure on fares with net revenues reinvested into the ferry system to support general fares.
The provincial government says new revenues sources, such as gambling, could help make the ferry system "affordable and sustainable" in the future. According to the release, the government has provided $1.4 billion in funding to B.C. Ferries over the last 10 years, even as fares have risen.
Got an opinion on gambling-dependent ferries? The province has launched a public consultation website to gather feedback on this and other proposals. The deadline for input is December 20.
A discussion guide on the consultation site notes that any slot machines on ferries would be placed in a "secure area" with "restricted access".