The Cowichan Valley will soon see significant improvements to its public transit system, thanks to funding from both the federal and provincial governments.
The improvements include a new and larger $15-million transit operations and maintenance facility that will meet the growing demand for transit, and meet the requirements for the future introduction of new, compressed natural gas buses to the Valley.
Also on the list are technology enhancements, including closed-circuit television on buses to increase safety, and automated-passenger counters that will enable BC Transit to optimize service delivery based on informed data.
Todd Stone, B.C.’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, said the funding announcement is part of almost $160 million in federal and provincial funding for transit projects in B.C. that was first announced in June by Premier Christy Clark and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“This funding for a new and expanded transit facility will enable the Cowichan Valley to meet current demand for public transit, while allowing room for growth down the road,” Stone said.
“As B.C.’s population and economy continues to grow, transit infrastructure needs to keep pace. This investment will help meet rising demand, ease congestion, lower our carbon footprint and enhance our quality of life.”
BC Transit said it will continue to work with local governments to identify priority projects for the second phase of the federal-provincial funding agreement.
Jon Lefebure, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said the district is pleased to be working with all levels of government to allow the growth of its transit fleet, increase service and encourage an increase in ridership across the Cowichan Valley.