TransLink gets $479M from B.C. government to help address declining ridership

Click to play video: 'B.C. giving TransLink $479M'
B.C. giving TransLink $479M
WATCH: The provincial government is offering nearly half a billion dollars in funding support for TransLink. Richard Zussman has the details. – Mar 15, 2023

TransLink is getting some money from the provincial government to help fund projects and address dwindling ridership.

Global News has learned the organization is getting $479 million of budget surplus money.

It is hoped this will stem any potential layoffs and potential route cuts as ridership continues to creep back up to pre-pandemic levels.

Ridership is about 82 per cent of pre-pandemic levels but revenue collection accounts for about 75 per cent.

Click to play video: 'B.C. premier announces $479M for TransLink'
B.C. premier announces $479M for TransLink

The funding boost comes after the TransLink mayors’ council felt left out of this year’s provincial budget when it came to funding its 10-year plan, priced around $20 billion.

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TransLink had said if there wasn’t extra funding in the next two years there would be major cuts to transportation services.

“Hundreds of thousands of people rely on TransLink’s service every day to get to work, travel to school, and access all parts of the region,” Premier David Eby said in a statement. “Failing to act now would lead to higher fares, fewer buses on the road, and reduced service across the board. We won’t let that happen.

Click to play video: 'TransLink mayors call for federal funding commitment for list of Metro Vancouver projects'
TransLink mayors call for federal funding commitment for list of Metro Vancouver projects

TransLink’s plan includes doubling buses by 2035, the extension of the millennium line to the University of British Columbia, rapid transit to the north shore, and the gondola to Simon Fraser University.

The mayors’ council made a formal request last month to the federal government to provide $250 million in additional emergency funds to be matched by the B.C. government.

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However, the province has concluded it does not expect that money to come from Ottawa so they are providing $479 million to the organization.

“Accessible public transit is critical for the region’s economic, social and environmental health now and into the future,” Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement.

“The Province will continue discussions with the federal government on a potential funding partnership. However, given TransLink’s significant and immediate needs, the Province is taking action with this funding stabilization to address TransLink’s short-term operating funding needs, preventing layoffs and maintaining transit services that will create jobs and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, which benefits residents and visitors to Metro Vancouver.”

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