ENGLISHTOWN, N.S. -- The Nova Scotia government is permanently removing fees from all seven of the ferry services operating within the province.

Premier Iain Rankin announced the change today at the Englishtown ferry, where a boat transports people across St. Anns Bay between Englishtown and Jersey Cove in northern Cape Breton.

Fees were temporarily suspended for all provincial ferries in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rankin says the permanent elimination of ferry fees will reduce the financial burden on local residents and visitors.

The provincial ferries operate daily year-round and most have a 24-hour service, with crossings at LaHave, Country Harbour, Little Narrows, Englishtown, Tancook Islands, Petit Passage and Grand Passage.

Ferry fees range from $7 for cars and light trucks to $10 for commercial trucks.

There are typically about one million ferry passengers per year and the operating cost for the provincial ferries is about $10.7 million per year annually.

The elimination in passenger fees will mean about a $1.3 million loss in public revenues.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2021.