Mayors’ Council Renews Call for Provincial Funding Commitment in Response to New Transit-Oriented Development Legislation
November 8, 2023
November 8, 2023 (Vancouver, B.C.) – The TransLink Mayors’ Council today welcomed the Government of B.C.’s announcement of new legislation to encourage the development of housing adjacent to rapid transit and other public transit hubs, noting that there is an urgent need for additional Provincial and Federal investments in new transit services to ensure transit-oriented development is successful.
“The fact is, you can’t have transit-oriented development without transit, and TransLink’s current system is unable to keep up with growing public demand for services across this region,” said Mayor Brad West, Chair of the Mayors’ Council. “With transit in Metro Vancouver currently frozen at 2019 levels, we need to see both the provincial and federal governments commit funding to dramatically expand public transit service. This legislation represents one of the most significant changes to land use and zoning policy that we’ve ever seen in this province, but it won’t succeed unless our three levels of government work together to deliver better transit in this region.”
“Encouraging the development of multi-family housing next to frequent transit service has been a successful strategy in Metro Vancouver for decades, and TransLink’s new Access for Everyone plan is designed to bring more transit service to every community in the region so we can unlock opportunities to build more affordable housing,” said Mayor Linda Buchanan of the City of North Vancouver. “This new legislation will enable significant increases in density and remove or dramatically reduce requirements for parking spaces in new developments. If these residents aren’t going to be using cars, we must ensure transit is accessible and frequent enough that they can rely on the system to get around.”
TransLink’s Access for Everyone plan will expand transit services in every corner of the region. The plan will double bus service over the next decade, introduce nine new Bus Rapid Transit lines, and take the next steps to adding rapid transit on the heavily congested North Shore, to UBC and other parts of the region. The plan will also increase funding for active transportation infrastructure by a factor of 10.
TransLink requires funding commitments no later than June 2024 to stay on track to begin expanding transit service in late 2024 in line with population growth and to support new housing targets.
Transit ridership growth in Metro Vancouver is the highest in all of North America. At 87 per-cent recovery, our region’s post-pandemic rebound is higher than major cities with rapid transit including New York, Toronto, Montreal and Miami.
Overcrowding on Metro Vancouver’s transit system is rapidly worsening. By 2025, almost 4 in 10 rush hour bus trips will be severely overcrowded, leaving tens of thousands of commuters every day watching full buses pass them. Metro Vancouver leads all major North American cities in post-pandemic rapid transit ridership recovery. Transit ridership in Surrey and Langley is at 120 per cent of pre-COVID levels with some routes in these fast-growing communities seeing ridership more than double over the past 4 years.
Transit service was frozen at 2019 levels due to the pandemic, while since then the region’s population has grown by more 200,000, with 50,000 more people arriving every year. The region’s transit service levels per capita are now back to 2016 levels and this metric will continue to decline given rapid population growth, unless new service is urgently added.
A survey conducted in August of this year found that over three quarters of Metro Vancouver residents believe it is crucial that governments build more transit in response to population growth. The survey showed 72 per cent of residents support the Access for Everyone plan and believe it will have a positive impact on the region.
About the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation
The Mayors’ Council is the collective voice of Metro Vancouver residents on transit and transportation. Our members include representatives from each of the 21 municipalities in TransLink’s service area, as well as Electoral Area ‘A’ and the Tsawwassen First Nation. It is responsible for approving TransLink’s transportation plans, identifying local funding and negotiating with other levels of government to make those plans a reality.
Media Contact: Anna Lilly, Earnscliffe Strategies, firstname.lastname@example.org 604-505-9048