Connecting BC: A Vision for Public Transit throughout BC

Imagine: Public transit that gets you where you need to go — quickly, easily, reliably... and affordably. No matter where in BC you live.

This plan can make that vision a reality within the next decade.

We can fill the gaps left by years of neglect and privatization under past BC Liberal governments, and build on the important transit investments our current provincial government has made. And we can unite local and regional transit into an integrated, sustainable, zero-carbon whole.

The plan:

1. Connect BC communities everywhere through a new province-wide express bus service.

Getting around BC by transit can be impossible. A province-wide public transit network will make it easier and safer for people in small towns and rural areas to get where they're going — whether it's to a medical appointment, a family birthday or a vacation.

2. Double the number of buses in BC Transit local services within five years and triple it within ten.

It's a lot easier to choose transit when you can rely on the bus coming on time and getting you where you need to go. (Not to mention having enough space for everyone at your stop!) And targeted services like community shuttle services, on-demand rides and car and bike sharing can close the gap between a transit stop and your front door.

3. Expand HandyDART service province-wide with an upgraded electric fleet.

Instead of relying on private companies and taxis for HandyDART services, let's expand HandyDART — including in small towns, rural and Indigenous communities — with new minibuses, cars and vans, and new public facilities and maintenance centres to communities across BC.

4. Develop new regional rail connections across the South Coast and Vancouver Island.

Restore and expand passenger rail services by expanding West Coast Express service and extending it to Abbotsford, building a new community rail line from Langley to Chilliwack on the Interurban corridor, restoring rail service to Prince George via Squamish and Whistler, and restoring the Vancouver Island Rail Corridor.

5. Create new passenger ferry connections.

New passenger ferries can dramatically increase BC Ferries’ capacity at much lower cost. Our plan adds new passenger ferry options between Vancouver, the Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island

6. Accelerate TransLink’s 10-year Access for Everyone plan for Metro Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver is a critical hub for BC. Rolling out TransLink’s plan over the next 5 years instead of 10 will help clear congestion for riders and drivers alike, shift housing and other development, and boost our province's economy. And it'll set the stage for new rapid transit projects.

7. Integrate transit seamlessly throughout BC.

Instead of a patchwork of isolated transit systems, we can integrate all these transit pieces into a seamless, coordinated and coherent transit experience. With one-ticket access and synchronized infrastructure, riders can make connections efficiently and reliably across systems — and get the updates they need for their whole trip quickly and easily.

8. Expand existing free transit programs to all youth up to age 18.

Making transit free for all young British Columbians will provide some of the basic mobility they need to thrive, and help them develop the habit of using transit. Free transit programs should also expand to cover people on social assistance who are not already included in the BC Bus Pass program.

In drafting this vision, we’ve centered rural BC and First Nations communities just as much as our urban communities. And we’ve drawn heavily on great grassroots work to shape the future of public transit, such as the efforts of disability justice advocates and the Save Our HandyDART campaign, the Centre for Family Equity’s Transit for Teens proposal, and the Let’s Ride! Campaign for BC-wide public transit.

Read the complete plan

First steps

In the short term, there are three key steps where our government can act now — steps that should be priorities in the upcoming election:

  • an inter-community express bus service running throughout BC
  • eliminating privatization for better services for riders, and a fairer deal for transit workers
  • providing free transit for everyone up to age 18.

What we'll gain

  • Stronger local economies because transportation is more efficient, moving people and goods more quickly
  • More affordable transportation options for families, saving on gas and vehicle expenses
  • Fewer cars on the road and less congestion, meaning faster trips for transit users and vehicle drivers
  • More than 9,000 new skilled construction jobs per year as we build the new system
  • More than 12,000 jobs for operators, supervisors, mechanics and other workers operating the new system
  • Thousands more jobs through economic spinoffs
  • Higher revenues for local and provincial governments, offsetting our transit investment
  • More liveable communities with less sprawl and cleaner air
  • A big step forward in meeting our climate action targets

Come on board!

Like the sound of this plan? Add your voice to those supporting a modern, integrated, BC-wide vision for public transit!

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