Thursday, January 21, 2021

TransLink looks to Metro Vancouver Board to approve $114 million electric bus program

The federal government provides fixed funding annually to local governments throughout Canada as part of the Gas Tax Fund. In Metro Vancouver, 95% of this funding is directed to the Greater Vancouver Regional Fund for transit projects.

TransLink must submit a list of projects it would like to fund from the Regional Fund to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Board for approval every year.

In 2018, TransLink used some funding from this program to purchase six 40-foot battery-electric buses to operate on the 100 route between Marpole Loop in Vancouver and 22nd Street Station in New Westminster. This route has fast chargers for the battery-electric buses.

In early 2020, TransLink’s Mayors’ Council approved its Low Carbon Fleet strategy. Over time, TransLink will be replacing most of its diesel buses with battery-electric and renewal natural gas buses. Renewal natural gas is created from landfill, compost, and agricultural gases.

TransLink’s whole-owned subsidiary Coast Mountain Bus operates out of six transit centres, where buses are stored and maintained. Buses based out of the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre are planned to be converted to battery-electric buses with in-route chargers.

As part of its 2021 application to Metro Vancouver, TransLink is requesting $86.1 million to purchase 57 battery-electric buses. It is also asking for $27.8 million to upgrade the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre to accommodate these buses.

The full list of projects that TransLink is requesting funding for this year include:

Project Cost in Millions
2022, 44 HandyDART Vehicle Purchase - Replacement $6.5
2022, 64 Community Shuttle Vehicle Purchase - Replacement $15.3
2021, 22 Bus Service Support Vehicles - Replacement $1.4
2021, 6 SkyTrain Service Support Vehicles - Replacement $0.4
Escalators replacement at Commercial‐Broadway SkyTrain Station $5.5
Elevators replacement at the 29th Avenue, Patterson, Edmonds, Columbia and Waterfront SkyTrain Stations $11.2
2023, 57 Battery‐Electric Conventional Bus - Replacement $86.1
Upgrades to the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre to support battery-electric buses $27.8
Total $154.0

If the Metro Vancouver Board agrees, TransLink will be starting in earnest the plan to renew its bus fleet with low-emission vehicles.

TransLink must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030.

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