BC Transit Bus Lane
(Photo by Victoria Buzz)

On the same day BC Transit announced service reductions due to a labour shortage, the province announced it would be investing $28 million towards the transit company to help cover ongoing pandemic-related impacts.

To avoid major cuts in service levels, the federal and provincial governments jointly announced Monday they would be providing $204 million to help offset the revenue impact as operators rebuild ridership—$176 million of that will go to TransLink.

The province said this second-round package of financial assistance is to help offset revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic as the services rebuild their ridership.

“An investment in transit is an investment in the British Columbian economy. This $204-million support for transit will mean that British Columbians can get around in a cleaner and more affordable way. As we continue our recovery, support like this will maintain good, middle-class jobs and sustain a critical service to the public,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, federal Minister of International Development and Minister Responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.

BC Transit reports its ridership has recovered to approximately 70% of pre-pandemic levels, while TransLink is reporting its ridership levels recovered to approximately 67%.

“We’re ensuring reliable and affordable transit service continues to be there for people to get to work, to school or for any other purpose,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Over the past two years, it’s never been more apparent how essential good transit service is for strong communities. We’ve demonstrated our commitment to quality transit with funding assistance unmatched by any other province.”

On the same day of the announcement, the Victoria Regional Transit System warning commuters of service reductions on some routes due to staffing issues.

The company says it’s actively recruiting transit operators in a number of systems across the province and working to hire more drivers, including in the Victoria area.

“As a result of these ongoing labour challenges, this service change includes temporary service reductions on some transit routes across the region,” read a statement.

Effective Monday, April 4th, BC Transit says routes 3 and 10 James Bay/Royal Jubilee will complete a loop in James Bay and return to Royal Jubilee Hospital on their respective alignments, no longer interlining in James Bay.

Other changes on the local Victoria transit system include:

  • Adjustments to routes 70, 71 and 72 Swartz Bay/Downtown to accommodate spring ferry traffic. Route 70 trip time adjustments will provide “greater flexibility” for minor ferry delays, with service level improvements on routes 71 and 72.
  • Service level adjustments on routes serving post-secondary institutions to match reduced demand.

BC Transit says it will increase capacity as more operators are hired, and encourages transit-goers to visit its website for a detailed look at bus schedules.

 

 

With files from Ethan Morneau

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