The days when people would take a ferry to Vancouver Island on a whim have been reduced to a bygone era.
It was something your grandparents would do for the fun of it.
Today, unless you're independently wealthy, a trip on a B.C. Ferry requires more and more thought - along with more and more cash.
The B.C. Ferry Commission announced this week its schedule of rate hikes, to begin next year with a 4.1-per-cent boost. Over the next three years the hit will total 12 per cent for ferry passengers.
With the economy appearing to be teetering towards recovery, a kick in the shins doesn't seem practical.
At some point, the higher costs could see a huge drop in ferry traffic. Forget incidental journeys - consider the businesses on both sides of the strait that depend upon continued travel.
While B.C. Ferries may have lost $16.5 million last year, the damage to remote communities may be more staggering.
Whenever the corporation and its employees are in contract negotiations, the term "essential service" always pops up.
However, it is hard not to see how this dramatic hike will save B.C. Ferries from the realities of having to provide such service.
When a family of four is paying approximately $188 to travel from Tsawwassen or Swartz Bay - before fuel surcharge and taxes - an additional $8 may be the tipping point.
And perhaps that is the point.
If fewer people take the ferry, then fewer employees and ships are needed to work a smaller schedule. The expenditures will go down, and so will the costs.
However, if B.C. Ferries continues to charge Cadillac prices, at one point in the future they may be delivering only Cadillacs, Mercedes and BMWs between ports.