Transit systems call on BC to provide support like Ontario

Published February 16, 2022.

Vancouver—The Canadian Urban Transit Association today called on the BC and federal governments to follow Ontario’s lead and deliver extended support to keep transit running.

TransLink and BC Transit have said they are facing a more than $700 million shortfall through 2023. Without extended support from Victoria and Ottawa, service cuts would likely be inevitable.

“Ontario is doing the right thing in keeping transit running. It’s time for Victoria and Ottawa to support B.C. transit systems by extending urgently needed support,” said Marco D’Angelo, president of CUTA. “Public transit is essential to Vancouver and other B.C. cities and urgently needs help from Victoria and Ottawa to keep running.”

Today, the Toronto Star reported the Ontario government will provide $300 million in additional support to maintain transit service levels. Before Covid, more than half the costs of running transit came from the farebox but ridership is down by about half. For every 10% drop in ridership, transit systems lose $470 million nationwide.

In 2020, federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement provided $4.6 billion to keep transit running—including $644 million in British Columbia—but these funds are expiring. Cities and transit systems have been asking Ottawa and the provinces to extend support, but only Ontario’s Ford government seems to prepared to act.

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Alex Krause

Communications & Public Affairs Specialist