(Victoria Buzz)

BC Transit’s board of directors just appointed four new members in addition to three continuing members, and at least one of the names will be very familiar to Vancouver Islanders.

Along with her responsibilities as mayor of Victoria and member of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, Lisa Helps will now be one of the people in charge of overseeing the management of BC Transit.

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The crown corporation will also be supervised by six other board members: Karen Elliott (mayor of Squamish), Lyn Hall (mayor of Prince George), Blair Redlin, Catherine Holt (chair), Susan Brice (councillor of Saanich and chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission), and Wendal Milne.

According to the British Columbia Transit Act, the board must be composed of four elected local government officials and three other individuals appointed by order in council.

In Victoria, Mayor Helps is known for her dedication to reduce carbon pollution, primarily by implementing a $30 million bike lane network in the city.

“The single biggest reduction in carbon pollution as a community is to increase walking and cycling to 55% of all trips by 2041 and increase use of transit by 25%,” Helps told Victoria Buzz back in February, 2019.

“When we’ve only got 11 years left to get to carbon neutrality as a planet, every year counts.”

She also aims to reallocate the revenue generated from new paid Sunday street parking to fund free bus passes for youth (anyone under the age of 18) in Victoria – a motion that Helps is set to bring to the transit commission at the end of April.

Last summer, BC Transit tested out the first ever electric bus in a six-month trial to better understand the bus’s capabilities and range, signalling a possible switch to more sustainable methods of transportation.

The electric bus is powered by a 324 kilowatt hour battery, and is recharged at a charging station at the Victoria Regional Transit Centre. It has been able to travel at least 250 kilometres on a charge during BC Transit testing, and can recharge overnight in three to four hours.

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