British Columbia plans to spend up to $14 billion to “significantly expand transit in communities across the province and to double transit ridership”.

The Provincial Transit Plan

This $14 billion plan calls for:

  • $10.3 billion investment in four new rapid transit lines in Metro Vancouver—the Evergreen Line, the UBC Line, the upgraded Expo Line and the Canada Line (for which $2 billion was previously committed)
  • $1.2 billion for a new, cutting edge energy efficient, high capacity RapidBus BC service along nine major routes in the high growth urban centres of Kelowna, Victoria and Metro Vancouver
  • $1.6 billion investment in 1,500 new, clean energy buses and related maintenance infrastructure to provide communities around the province with improved bus service
  • increased security measures to enhance transit safety and use

I’ve only read the glossy brochure, and there is little mention of efforts to improve things in the smaller rural communities, like those in the Kootenays. There is $1.6 billion set for “new, clean technology buses to bolster the provincial fleet and provide communities with more frequent service to meet the needs of transit users”. Seems a bit of a stretch, coming from the same organization who has cut the service in Castlegar down to one bus, three routes with no weekend service! To quote the brochure again, “Transit service must be frequent, reliable and provide short travel times to destinations”.
I’m not too hopeful of seeing any of these new buses ending up out here, or additional services until the price of gas forces a public ground swell of need for transit that works. As it stands, ridership appears to be so low in Castlegar it is a joke. I think the drives do a great job, as well as the guys who keep the bus routes clear of snow, allowing this service to run on time and safely, however, something needs to give when a city of about 7000 people has no weekend service and a limited weekday schedule.
And as for the goal of doubling transit ridership (see first paragraph), tell me where in the province this is going to happen by the projections in the following (very pretty) graph?
Not in Vancouver… Not in Victoria… Not in Regional Centres… hmm, maybe in Alberta?

Lets hope that the distribution of funds has better math behind it than these projections.

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Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.