As we near the end of the first month of 2020, commuters in Victoria continue to experience dozens of delayed and cancelled bus trips.
The problem appeared to reach its peak in late fall last year when BC Transit spokesperson Jonathon Dyck came out and issued a statement about the state of buses in the capital city.
“The average age of the fleet in Victoria is 12 years old and we’ll have new vehicles start to come in January 2020. By the end of 2020, the average age of our fleet will be 6 years,” said Dyck in October.
Now, in an update to Victoria Buzz, he has confirmed that two of the 80 new buses slated for Victoria this year have already arrived and are undergoing commissioning.
72 of the new vehicles will replace existing aging ones in Victoria, while the remaining eight will allow the crown corporation to expand their services in the city.
“We anticipate putting new buses into service this winter and will keep the public informed as buses are ready to go into service,” says Dyck.
This new fleet will be comprised of compressed natural gas buses that Dyck says are quieter, more environmentally friendly, and cost less to operate.
“In Nanaimo and Kamloops we have seen operational savings of over a million dollars a year,” he adds.
The conversion to compressed natural gas is a part of BC Transit’s ‘low carbon fleet program’ which was designed in 2018 to meet provincial targets for greenhouse gas emissions.
This particular step allows the transit authority to bridge the transition to electric propulsion vehicles by introducing renewable fuels.
BC Transit tested their first battery electric bus in Victoria for six months in 2018 to help them better understand the bus’ capabilities and range.
The crown corporation plans to purchase 10 of these electric buses and put them into regular service in Victoria in 2021.