New SkyTrain, electric buses part of B.C.’s $2.4B for transit in Metro Vancouver

VANCOUVER โ€” The B.C. government says a Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain line and electrified bus fleets are among the projects that will benefit from a $2.4-billion investment in Metro Vancouver transit.

George Heyman, B.C.'s minister responsible for TransLink, announced the funds Friday, saying people throughout Metro Vancouver will have more affordable and convenient travel options, while reducing climate pollution.

The government says in a news release the funds are part of its commitment to cover 40 per cent of the 10-year vision for transit outlined by the regional mayors' council on regional transportation.

The investment plan for TransLink, which is Metro Vancouver's transportation authority, includes expanding transit service, building more bus-priority infrastructure and transitioning bus fleets from diesel to zero-emission vehicles.

The release says the plan will help TransLink replace more than one third of its diesel bus fleet, with about 500 buses that run on electric batteries or natural gas.

On Wednesday, TransLink said its recovery of ridership that plummeted during the pandemic has been stronger than many North American transit networks, but still hasn't returned to previous levels.

It says ridership across its system has rebounded to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels after reaching 59 per cent last year.

TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn says in a statement Friday the province's support for the investment plan will ensure the transportation authority is on solid ground while advancing priority projects.

"It has been a challenging few years, and we thank the provincial government for its commitment to ensure transit continues to serve residents throughout Metro Vancouver."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press