BC Transit Background
BC Transit: Who We Are Today
As the provincial Crown agency, BC Transit coordinates the delivery of public transportation throughout BC outside Metro Vancouver.
Currently, there are 81 transit systems, ranging in size from small towns to larger communities like Prince George, Kelowna, and Victoria.
In most communities, BC Transit systems are a partnership between local government and a local operating company. In Nanaimo, Nelson, Powell River, and the Sunshine Coast, the municipal partner also operates the system. The Victoria Regional Transit System is operated by BC Transit.
In partnership with local governments, BC Transit's key responsibilities include:
- Planning: developing long range and operational plans and transit schedules
- Funding: funding about half of scheduled transit services and two-thirds of custom service for people with disabilities
- Marketing: promoting transit system routes, schedules and policies
- Fleet Management: purchasing transit vehicles and setting fleet maintenance standards
- Contract Administration: managing transit system budgets and service contracts with private transit management companies.
- Expertise: offering safety, training, purchasing, labour relations and employee recruitment / retention advice to our partners
The Previous 30 Years: 1979 - 2009
In1979 the provincial government created the Urban Transit Authority (UTA), a new Crown corporation to coordinate the planning, marketing and funding of municipal transit systems throughout the province. Prior to 1979, responsibility for public transit was through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Starting with 13 systems, the vision for the UTA was to provide local governments with an increased role in the decision making and funding of their community transit systems.
A year later after the start of the UTA, operation of the Victoria and Vancouver transit systems transferred from BC Hydro to the new organization and in 1982 it was renamed as BC Transit.
BC Transit's "shared services" model and more predictable funding formula allowed for a rapid increase in the number of communities with transit systems. 1.7 million people in BC now have access to public transportation. This model is unique in Canada.
1979 - Urban Transit Authority (UTA) formed.
1980 - Operation of Victoria and Vancouver transit systems transferred from BC Hydro to what would eventually become BC Transit.
1981 - First handyDART systems launched in BC for people with a disability.
1982 - UTA becomes BC Transit.
1992 - Introduction of first low-floor buses in transit service in North America.
1996 - BC Transit is rated number one North American system by the American Public Transit Association. Start of large expansion period to increase share of commuter market in many systems.
1998 - University of Victoria and Victoria's Camosun College launch first U-Pass in Western Canada.
1999 - Operation of Metro Vancouver Transit services passes to the newly formed Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (Translink, now the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority).
2000 - First low-floor, double-deck buses in North America (Victoria).
2005 - First production hybrid buses in Canada (Kelowna).
2010 - World's largest single-location hydrogen fuel cell fleet implemented in regular service (Whistler).