1890, the National Electric Tramway and Light Company was
founded in Victoria. It later became the B.C. Electric Railway
(BCER) Company in 1897. Buses were added to the streetcar
fleet in the 1920s; the trolley bus followed in 1945; and
three years later, motorized buses were introduced.
In 1961, Premier William A.C. Bennett purchased BCER for
the Province. A year later, transit in Victoria and Vancouver
was operated by the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority
In 1979, 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. 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
year 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 BC Transit.
Another major change followed in 1999 when operation of Metro
Vancouver transit services passed from BC Transit to the newly
formed Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (TransLink).
In the last 30 years, the number of transit systems has grown
from 13 to 81 and in the last 20 years, ridership has more
than doubled from 21 million to 45 million. Today, public
and government support for public transit is at an all-time
BC Transit Highlights
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
2000 - First low-floor, double-deck buses in North
2005 - First production hybrid buses in Canada (Kelowna).
2010 - World's largest single-location hydrogen fuel
cell fleet implemented in regular service (Whistler).
2014 - CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) bus fleet launched
in the Regional District of Nanaimo