BC Transit Release
BC Transit has signed an agreement with Clean Energy to build and maintain the compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Whistler. The $3.2 million new fueling station is expected to be operational by the end of 2017.
In addition to the new fueling station, Whistler will receive 25 new CNG-powered buses in early 2018. Each of the XN40 Xcelsior New Flyer buses can carry up to 81 passengers. The purchase of the 25 new vehicles represents an investment of $17 million in the Whistler Transit System.
“This project is a great example of how the Province’s strong federal and municipal partnerships are allowing us to bring B.C.’s transit infrastructure into the 21st century,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Through these strategic investments, we are building a brighter future for B.C. – together.”
“Moving ahead with this new fueling system will allow cleaner burning, lower emission CNG buses to become the new standard for Whistler’s transit fleet,” said Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver – Sea to Sky. “This investment will allow Whistler Transit to better meet the community’s transit needs today and well into the future.”
The CNG fueling station and new CNG buses are part of the almost $160 million in federal and provincial funding for BC Transit projects that was first announced in June, together with Premier Christy Clark and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Expanding the use of CNG to Whistler strengthens our commitment to building healthier communities by introducing more environmentally friendly technology to fuel our buses,” said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new buses will support a more efficient and effective transit system that will connect the people of Whistler throughout the community.”
The benefits of CNG technology are environmental and economic. According to FortisBC, using CNG reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 25 per cent, and it also costs 25 to 50 per cent less than traditional diesel fuel. Production of clean burning CNG also supports British Columbians across the province, providing meaningful employment in both rural and urban communities.
“I’m proud of the growth of the Whistler Transit System, and the introduction of CNG technology will help us reduce fleet emissions consistent with our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals” said Resort Municipality of Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “The savings demonstrate our commitment to long term planning, innovation, and creative climate change solutions.”
The successful CNG rollout in both Kamloops and Nanaimo sets an example for the rest of the province and country, demonstrating how best in class technology can be used to deliver dependable transportation solutions that contribute to a more sustainable future.
“BC Transit stands up to their commitment of providing sustainable transportation and we couldn’t be more pleased to be continuing our partnership with them on another fueling station,” said Peter Grace, Clean Energy’s Senior Vice-President for Sales and Finance. “A leader among transit agencies, they work hard every day to achieve their goal of building healthier communities and I know that by continuing to commit to natural gas to fuel their buses, the community of Whistler will be better off for it.”
The natural gas for Whistler will be supplied by FortisBC.To help offset the initial costs associated with the purchase of the new CNG buses, FortisBC will provide funding of up to $462,000. This funding represents 40 per cent of the cost differential of CNG buses over diesel counterparts.
“BC Transit’s commitment to converting its Whistler bus fleet to natural gas shows their continued dedication to environmental sustainability and innovation,” said Sarah Smith, FortisBC director, natural gas for transportation. “Natural gas as a fleet fuel is more cost-effective, decreases lifecycle carbon and other harmful emissions and reduces noise levels compared to diesel.”
Provincial, federal and local funding for Whistler also means the addition of improved technology, including:
- Real Time capability that will utilize automatic vehicle locators, allowing passengers to know exactly when their bus will arrive.
- Closed-circuit TV (CCTV) to improve the safety of passengers and drivers.
- Automatic passenger counters, which will enable BC Transit to optimize service delivery based on informed data.
For more information about the Whistler Transit System, please visit bctransit.com/whistler or call 604-932-4020.
Jonathon Dyck, BC Transit, Communications Manager
Communications, Resort Municipality of Whistler