In business with BC Transit
BC Transit is venturing into new and innovative ways to raise revenue that will support improved transit services without putting added pressure on taxpayers.
The first ever venture will take place in Whistler where Pacific Coach Lines (PCL) has signed a one-year lease to rent secured parking space on the grounds of the Whistler Transit Centre.
BC Transit and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) worked in close partnership to develop a business case for rental of these facilities and ensure the best possible use of a public investment without infringing on the private sector. After extensive consultation and analysis, it was determined the Whistler Transit Centre is the only local facility available that offers secured and covered parking for large passenger vehicles with the added protection of around-the-clock video surveillance.
The recent report of the independent review panel of BC Transit concluded that new sources of commercial revenue should be explored to offset the burden on taxpayers so that transit fares remain affordable and will attract new ridership.
“This is an initial first step but there is tremendous potential to expand opportunities across the province,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak. “Whistler provides a great example of how communities, local government and business can partner with BC Transit and everybody benefits.”
“The eyes of the world were on Whistler during the 2010 Olympic games and saw how this community adopted leading edge transit technology with the introduction of zero emission fuel cell buses,” said West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Joan McIntyre. “Once again Whistler is at the forefront by showing how a community can benefit from generating additional revenues and reduce reliance on property taxes and transit fares as traditional sources of funding for transit.”
The Whistler Transit Centre opened in January 2010 in preparation for the Winter Olympics. It was designed to accommodate transit growth over 40 years. In the meantime, there are 23 buses in the Whistler Transit fleet and space to accommodate 50 buses at the secured parking facility.
Whistler council rezoned to the property to allow for commercial activity in early October.
“In challenging fiscal times, we are always looking for ways of generating revenue and this collaboration will generate revenue to offset the burden of local transit costs on Whistler’s taxpayers,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
“We believe co-operation between public and private entities to be the future for British Columbia and are further supported by the vision that RMOW has set forth for Whistler as a ‘sustainable, low footprint’ community," said Dennis Shikaze CA, President, Pacific Coach Lines.
Pacific Coach has operated the transportation link between Vancouver and Victoria for more than 50 years; complimented by attaining the YVR Airport to Whistler Village scheduled transportation route in October 2007.
“BC Transit and the RMOW are committed to working together to find innovative and creative solutions to funding transit,” said Manuel Achadinha, President and CEO of BC Transit. “We believe this is the first of many commercial ventures to come as we strive to make transit as cost-effective as possible for the 130 communities we serve.”