Premier Gordon Campbell and Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon unveiled a $14-billion public transit plan to be completed by 2020 today. It is a key measure in the Province’s greenhouse gas reduction plan, touching every region of the province.
 
“Our new plan will double transit ridership by increasing choice for people around the province, with new fleets, green technology, new lines and new innovative services like RapidBus BC,” Campbell said. “The plan focuses on safe, comfortable, reliable services that will highlight green technologies and will reshape our communities by encouraging integration of work, home and recreational activities. It provides people with the choices they need to make a difference.”
 
“One new transit line was committed to in each of the previous three decades; this plan delivers three lines in the next decade,” said Falcon.
 
The plan calls for $14 billion in investments, including $11.1 billion in new funding, with the Province committing $4.75 billion, and the remainder from partners, including the federal government, TransLink and local governments.
 
Increased security measures will enhance transit safety. Electronic gates and closed-circuit cameras will be installed at rapid transit and new RapidBus stations. A smart-card system for rapid transit and buses, which users can reload at vending machines or on the Internet, will be implemented.
 
“This plan will provide fast, reliable, green transit that acts as a catalyst to change the nature and form of all our communities – urban, suburban and rural,” said Campbell. “As more and more British Columbians live and work near transit, urban form will shift, which will lead to lower energy use, increasing energy efficiency, and a lighter environmental footprint.”
 
A cumulative total of 4.7 million tonnes in transportation greenhouse gases (GHG) will be reduced by 2020. The GHG savings will be about the equivalent of parking all the cars and light trucks in Metro Vancouver for a full year by getting British Columbians out of their cars and onto transit.
 
The 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; and 
  • $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.  

“The transit plan sets out innovative, integrated, customized solutions for individual communities to keep people and goods moving efficiently in B.C. as part of our broader transportation strategy,” said Falcon. “Increased transit will allow people more choice, and often time savings. For example, during peak periods, transit riders travelling between Coquitlam Centre and Vancouver International Airport can save more than an hour every day compared to drivers.” 
 
The Transit Plan complements other key provincial transportation initiatives such as the Cariboo Connector, Trans-Canada Highway upgrades like the Kicking Horse Canyon, roads to support the mountain pine beetle harvest, and projects in Metro Vancouver such as the Gateway Program. This announcement is in addition to the recently announced $180-million investment establishing rapid bus service over the Gateway Program’s twinned Port Mann Bridge. 
 

 

Backgrounder

Comprehensive New Transit Plan Benefits Entire Province

 

Key Objectives

  • Increase transit ridership across the province to over 400 million trips a year. 
  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other air contaminants from cars by 4.7 million tonnes cumulatively by 2020. 
  • Support increased population and employment densities near transit hubs and along transit corridors, changing urban forms, which will further decrease GHG emissions. 
  • For Metro Vancouver, the transit market share will grow from 12 per cent during weekdays today to 17 per cent by 2020 and to 22 per cent by 2030. 
  • For the Victoria Regional Transit System, the transit market share will grow from today’s seven per cent to 9.5 per cent by 2020 and 12 per cent by 2030. 
  • For other regions of the province, the transit market share will grow from today’s three per cent to four per cent in 2020 and five per cent in 2030. 
  • Ease traffic congestion and make all our communities healthier places to live and easier places to get around.  
  • Provide transit riders with access to more buses, more often. 
  • Upgrade our provincial bus fleet with 1,500 new, clean energy buses and related maintenance infrastructure, 
  • Increase the hours of service. 
  • Create long-term partnerships to maximize taxpayer investments and meet specific needs of specific communities in cost-effective, energy efficient ways. 
  • Improve transit rider safety and comfort with improved security on and around transit, particularly rapid transit, and increase fare compliance. 
  • Increase seniors’ mobility options and improve services for those with mobility challenges. 

Costs for Major Transit Improvements

  • $1.6 billion for 1,500 new, clean technology buses to add nearly 60 per cent more buses to the provincial fleet and provide communities in British Columbia more frequent service to meet transit users’ specific needs.
  • $10.3 billion for four new and expanded rapid transit lines serving communities across Metro Vancouver – the Evergreen Line, the UBC Line, the upgraded Expo Line, and the Canada Line (previously committed funding totalling $2 billion for which B.C. is providing $435 million). 
  • $1.2 billion for new RapidBus BC lines – energy efficient, high capacity buses on nine major routes in the high growth urban centres of Kelowna, Victoria and Metro Vancouver, providing frequent, fast, reliable service that looks and feels like rapid transit and operates on dedicated lane-ways in some cases. 

Other Benefits

  • Increased security measures such as installing electronic gates and closed-circuit cameras at rapid transit stations and using a smart-card system for rapid transit and buses that users can reload at vending machines or on the Internet.
  • New, customized solutions for individual communities across the province, including more HandyDART, community shuttles, conventional buses and other technologies. 

Financial Requirements 

  • $11.1 billion in new funding is required from all partners.
  • he estimated provincial share of funding – over 40 per cent of new funding – is $4.75 billion by 2020. 
  • Over the life of the plan from now until 2020, the Province is calling on the federal government for investments of $3.1 billion, TransLink for investments of $2.75 billion, and local governments for investments of $500 million along with supportive land use. 
  • In total, $14 billion in funding is required through 2020.