The aging fleet of buses on the North Coast are being replaced starting this fall.
BC Transit announced today that five new buses will modernize and improve the transportation network around Prince Rupert and Port Edward.
Three 30-foot Vicinity buses, including the one on display in front of City Hall on Friday, will be the first to arrive and two 35-foot buses will be added to the fleet in 2018.
“This is huge for us,” said Mayor Lee Brain. “On a community level we’ve been trying to upgrade our user experience.” He added that the city also pushed to upgrade the airport buses.
Some of the features on the buses include, CCTV security cameras to improve safety, two bike racks at the front of the bus, space for two mobility aids and two bus doors for entering and exiting. The 30-foot bus has 24 seats and room for 44 passengers in total, the 35-foot bus has 30 seats and room for 54 passengers.
“A lot of people in Port Edward rely on these buses to travel to work,” said Councillor Grant Moore. “It’s good to have some ‘good news’ about buses in the north,” he said, referring to Greyhound’s plans to pull its passenger bus service from the northwest of the province and elsewhere.
Currently, the six ‘vintage’ buses in operation are between 17 and 18 years old. Five of those buses will be assessed by BC Transit and either decommissioned or added to the provincial contingency fleet.
The bus replacement project in Prince Rupert and Port Edward cost approximately $1.65 million with funding from the province, the federal government and the municipality.