A preferred site has been selected for the new BC Transit operations and maintenance facility in Prince George, at the corner of Foothills Boulevard and 18 Avenue.
The proposed new building will support the fueling of clean-burning compressed natural gas buses.
“Having a ready and reliable transit service is essential to the growth of our community, and this
important and timely investment from all three levels of government supports this goal,” said Mayor Lyn Hall, in a news release. “The city continues to work with BC Transit to find opportunities to improve transit services that will encourage more people to come on board, while also supporting the needs of our already dedicated ridership.”
The city will be starting a rezoning process for the preferred site that will include a public information meeting in advance of the public engagement component. This initial public information meeting will ensure the needs of the community are taken into consideration as early as possible. The public information meeting will take place March 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the new Kin Centre where BC Transit and City staff will be available to answer questions.
The location is more centrally located in Prince George than the existing site, which is located far on the south side of the city. The proposed site is located behind Exhibition Park and at the bottom of University Hill to provide close access to a number of existing transit routes. This move is a greener alternative as it will help to reduce fuel consumption and costs.
“The Prince George Transit System has 1.9 million rides each year, and we are committed to expanding transit infrastructure in order to meet the growing demand of the region,” said Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris. “The new facility will enhance transit services and support CNG fueling, which is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than traditional diesel.”
The project represents a $23 million commitment in Prince George transit, and will position the city to meet future demands for transit, in addition to improving operational efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The benefits of compress natural gas technology in Prince George are environmental and economic. According to FortisBC, using compressed natural gas reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 25 per cent, and costs 25 to 50 per cent less than diesel fuel.
“BC Transit, along with our partners, is excited about this important investment for Prince George,” said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new facility will support future growth in the system that will better enable us to connect people and communities.”
The funding will also benefit the Prince George handyDART system, which is receiving two replacement handyDART buses this year. BC Transit is working with community groups in Prince George to ensure all 13,000 hours of handyDART service available in the city is fully used, helping to create reliable transportation solutions for people who cannot use conventional transit.
Provincial and federal funding for the city also means the addition of modern buses with improved technology, including closed-circuit TV to improve the safety of passengers, and drivers and automatic passenger counters that will enable BC Transit to optimize service delivery, based on informed data.