Province extends pandemic relief funding to bolster public transit services
The federal and provincial governments are providing financial assistance to BC Transit and TransLink to help protect service levels while ridership recovers and to ensure that British Columbia’s transit system remains safe and reliable.
BC Transit and TransLink will receive a combined $204 million to help offset the revenue impact as operators rebuild ridership. This funding is in addition to the more than $1 billion federal-provincial Safe Restart funding announced in September 2020, which has helped TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries.
“An investment in public transit is an investment in the BC economy. This $204 million support for public transit will allow British Columbians to get around in a cleaner and more affordable way. As we continue our recovery, support like this will help maintain good middle-class jobs and maintain an essential service to the public,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Federal Minister for International Development and Minister responsible for Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.
Of the $204 million, BC Transit will receive $28 million and TransLink will receive $176 million to help cover pandemic-related operational impacts while agencies work to recover.
“We know that people have been challenged by the pandemic in many ways and that an affordable and accessible public transit system is needed to get people to school and to work. This expanded level of support will give people confidence that public transit is there to meet their needs,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy for British Columbia and head of TransLink. “A healthy transit system is an important part of BC’s climate plan to reduce emissions and provide community and transportation supports in an economy that works for everyone.
TransLink reports its ridership is back to around 67% of pre-pandemic levels, while BC Transit reports its ridership levels are back to around 70%.
“We are ensuring that a reliable and affordable public transport service continues to be there so that people can get to work, school or for any other purpose,” said Rob Fleming, Minister for Transport. and Infrastructure. “Over the past two years, it has never been clearer how essential good transit service is to strong communities. We have demonstrated our commitment to quality public transit through financial assistance unmatched by any other province.
The latest federal-provincial funding agreement for transit agencies offers relief as transit ridership continues to recover. The federal allocation for British Columbia is $102 million, matched by the British Columbia government to provide $204 million in additional pandemic relief.
Kevin Quinn, CEO, TransLink –
“The governments of British Columbia and Canada have been steadfast champions of public transportation throughout the pandemic. With new relief financial support, TransLink can continue to maintain much-needed levels of transit service for approximately 300,000 customers who depend on affordable, reliable and sustainable transit service every day. As ridership in Metro Vancouver recovers, this senior government funding gives TransLink more time to explore longer-term financing solutions that reflect the region’s emerging needs.
Erinn Pinkerton, President and CEO, BC Transit –
“This funding from the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia will allow BC Transit and our local government partners to protect service levels and continue to provide stable, affordable and convenient service to those who need it. Not needed anymore. It goes without saying that the past two years have had a significant impact on communities across British Columbia. Thank you to our users, employees and partners for their continued support of public transit.