Fare's fair?

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The cost of everything is going up; it’s just a fact of life.

So the increasing chorus of criticism about Marine Atlantic’s decision to raise their tariff rates by four per cent coupled with a new $3.50 security fee baffles us no end.

The anonymous masses commenting on news stories on several websites have aired their “disgust” at the decision and head of the St. John’s Board of Trade, Joe Marc Zurel, said the fee increase would make Newfoundland an unattractive option of tourists. What a load of rubbish. If a family of four travelling from Port aux Basques to North Sydney could afford to pay $209.38 last year, they will surely be able to afford the new revised cost of $224.77.

If that $15.39 makes or breaks the budget then it’s fair to say that same family of four probably shouldn’t be coming over from the mainland for a vacation in the first place.

We also doubt very much that a wife in Ontario or Saskatchewan reading the news about these fare increases will turn around to her husband and proclaim “well Harold, looks like Newfoundland is out of the question this year, how about we pack up the kids and drive to Montana instead? I hear they have lovely desert.”

Already the ferry ride is an expensive journey, especially for the Avalon crowd who takes the Argentia crossing.

For a family of four they can expect to see their travel costs go up from $509.45 to $536.84. Throw in a four-berth cabin at almost $165 and you’ve got yourself an expensive trip.

But really what do you expect when you live on an island?

The argument that it will increase the cost of goods being transported across from the mainland to Newfoundland cannot be disputed but again, to be fair we do live on an island, and that means we are at the whim transport companies and of Mother Nature.

It makes us wonder what these same critics would say if Marine Atlantic were to run at a loss or heaven forbid, face financial ruination because they failed to adjust their prices in line with rising costs.

No one likes having to pay extra but the hullabaloo surrounding the Marine Atlantic price hike seems superficial and overblown especially when you try and tell us that tourists will find Newfoundland unattractive in some way.

This province will continue to have tourists as long as it sits above the water line.

An interesting point was made to us this week that made a good bit of sense however. How about giving Newfoundlanders a reduced rate to travel across on the ferry?

That seems like a fair fare does it not?

— This editorial originally ran in the Northern Pen

Organizations: Marine Atlantic, Board of Trade, Argentia

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Port aux Basques, North Sydney Ontario Saskatchewan Montana

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  • mark still
    mark still
    January 24, 2012 - 20:18

    I don't know...... with rising utility rates across the board, my Internet access costs 8 cents more this month than last. I can't afford to engage in such trivial debates!