As SPN wrote in Monday’s Council Meeting summary, Mayor Tait noted that a special transit meeting took place on Monday, march 27, and the province is funding a $1.6 million into transit. This was a follow-up to the earlier meeting in March where she noted with great disappointment that the anticipated two cent gas tax increase (which would have funded bus improvements) did not happen.
The mayor said that BC Transit needs 20,000 service hours: 13,000 are needed to preserve existing services, and another 7,000 are needed to expand. This “expanded service” will just allow BC Transit to maintain current service levels, as there has been an increase in demand and an increase in duration (McKenzie).
She also reiterated local governments have no input on the gas tax, that’s a provincial matter. “We wrote letters of support,” said the mayor, that’s all they can do. Citizens can do that too.
Here is the official release from BC Transit.
The Province of BC and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission (VRTC) have announced that needed service expansion will move ahead in 2017/18 thanks to an interim funding solution provided by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and BC Transit. The addition of $1.63 million of provincial funding will add 20,000 hours and eight new buses to the system, and allow for needed expanded service to growing areas of the region, such as the Westshore, as well as additional trips on many routes to maintain on-time performance.
“We are working closely with BC Transit and VRTC to build a strong transit system that meets the needs for this growing population,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone. “I’m pleased to announce today that we have found a solution that will allow the VRTC to move forward with its planned expansion.”
“It takes strong partnerships for public transit to be successful, and I appreciate the hard work of staff from BC Transit and the Ministry to deliver a financial solution allowing much needed service expansion to proceed,” said Susan Brice, Chair of the VRTC, “The goal of the VRTC is to improve transit services for current and future customers in greater Victoria, and today’s announcement supports that goal.”
“We are committed to delivering an efficient and effective transit system that connects people and communities in the Victoria region,” said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit President and Chief Executive Officer. “This additional funding will allow us to improve service reliability and meet the growing demands of our customers.”
The additional funding from the Province of BC is an interim solution to support the expansion of transit services for the 2017/18 fiscal year. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and BC Transit will continue to work on a longer term solution that supports transit service needs in the Victoria region for future years.
For more information about services in the Victoria Regional Transit System, visit bctransit.com or call 250-382-6161.