BC Transit is a provincial crown corporation responsible for coordinating the delivery of public transportation within British Columbia, Canada, outside Greater Vancouver. BC Transit is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia.
BC Transit is the successor to the British Columbia Electric Railway, which started in 1897 and in 1961 became a division of BC Hydro. In 1979, the province separated the transit authority into a separate agency called the Urban Transit Authority which was later restructured into BC Transit in 1983.
BC Transit carries out overall planning and delivery for all of the different municipal transit systems in British Columbia. In 1999, responsibility for the management of transportation in Greater Vancouver, including public transit, was taken over by TransLink. In the future, TransLink's jurisdiction is planned to expand into adjacent regions east and north of Greater Vancouver. (see TransLink 2007 reorganization)
|Headquarters||520 Gorge Road East|
Victoria, British Columbia
|Locale||Province of British Columbia|
|Service area||130 communities|
|Service type||bus service, paratransit, transportation planning|
The BC Electric Railway was incorporated in 1897 to take over the property and business of the Consolidated Railway Company. The Consolidated Railway Company had been formed the previous year, taking over ten other companies engaged in electric light systems or tramways in Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster. Slowly the streetcars and interurban trams were converted to trolley and gas-powered buses. The province formed the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority in 1962, bringing the transit systems under BC Hydro.
In 1979 the province's Livable Region Plan led to the transfer of transit responsibilities to three agencies: the Greater Vancouver Regional District was to be responsible for transit policy and planning; the Urban Transit Authority, to represent provincial government interests in public transit; and the Metro Transit Operating Company, a separate crown corporation that took over operations from BC Hydro. The new structure was meant to provide local governments with more decision-making power and funding of their local systems.
BC Transit was created when, in 1982, the province merged the UTA and MTOC. The GVRD no longer had a role, and regional transit commissions were created in Vancouver and Victoria. The new regional commissions were tasked with approving local tariffs, planning, and some funding.
In 1999, the responsibility for the transit system in Greater Vancouver was reassigned to TransLink. The rest of BC remained under BC Transit.
The Victoria Regional Transit System, in the provincial capital of Victoria, is the only system operated by BC Transit itself. Beyond Victoria, there are regional transit systems. In four locations (Nanaimo, Nelson, Powell River, and the Sunshine Coast) the municipality operates the service, while private operators are contracted to deliver the transit services elsewhere.
There are 16 custom accessible transit systems.