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BC Transit

BC Transit
FormerlyUrban Transit Authority and the Metro Transit Operating Company
Founded1983; 41 years ago (1983)
Headquarters520 Gorge Road East
Victoria, British Columbia
LocaleProvince of British Columbia (except Greater Vancouver)
Service area130 communities
Service typebus service, paratransit, transportation planning
Fleet1,128 vehicles[1]
Annual ridership27.0 million (FY 2020/21) [1]

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. In 2023, the system had a ridership of 26,377,500, or about 108,500 per weekday as of the fourth quarter of 2023.

BC Transit is the successor to the British Columbia Electric Railway, which started in 1897 and in 1961 became BC Hydro, as the BC Hydro and Power Authority.[2] 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.[3]

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 the newly formed TransLink. In the future, TransLink's jurisdiction is planned to expand into adjacent regions east and north of Greater Vancouver (see TransLink 2007 reorganization).


The logo of the Urban Transit Authority, the predecessor of BC Transit.
Pre-2000 logo
Logo used from 2000 to 2009.

In 1896, the Consolidated Railway Company was formed, taking over ten other companies engaged in electric light rail systems, or tramways, and electric lighting in Vancouver, Victoria, and New Westminster. The following year, in 1897, the BC Electric Railway was incorporated to take over the property and business of the Consolidated Railway Company. In the 1930s and 1940s, the electric streetcars and interurban trams were converted to trolleybuses and gas-powered buses, as part of the BCER's "From Rails to Rubber" program. In 1961, the province took over the BCER through the BC Hydro Act, forming the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority as a crown corporation.[2]

In 1979, the province's Livable Region Plan led to the transfer of transit responsibilities to three agencies: the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) was to be responsible for transit policy and planning; the Urban Transit Authority (UTA), to represent provincial government interests in public transit; and the Metro Transit Operating Company (MTOC), a separate crown corporation that took over operations from BC Hydro.[4] The new structure was meant to provide local governments with more decision-making power and funding of their local systems.[3]

In 1983, BC Transit was created when the province merged the UTA and MTOC, removing the role of GVRD. Regional transit commissions were created in Vancouver and Victoria, tasked with approving local tariffs, planning, and some funding.[4]

In 1999, the responsibility for the transit system in Greater Vancouver was reassigned to TransLink, which had been founded a year earlier. The rest of BC still remains under BC Transit.

In 2000, BC Transit became one of the first transit systems in North America to use double-decker buses, which were also low-floor.[5]

After Greyhound Canada ended all services in western Canada, BC Transit began the operation of BC Bus North, its first dedicated intercity buses in Northern British Columbia, in 2018.[6]

In 2019, to address rising concerns of driver safety, the installation of driver safety doors on all buses began. The first bus with this modification was in Victoria.[7]

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Transit went to a province-wide free-fare operation and required boarding through the rear door of buses with multiple doors. This lasted just over two months, with fares and front-door boarding resuming on in June of the same year.[8]

Transit systems

BC Hydro markings on a 1964 GMC bus

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.[9] 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.

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District announced in 2017 that it was studying the feasibility of public transit connecting Tofino and Ucluelet. Feasibility studies concluded in November 2019,[10] with approval from the ACRD provided in late December 2019.[11] BC Transit began their first tests of the routes in February 2020.

Regional transit systems


HandyDART is an accessible transit service in British Columbia that uses vans or small buses to transport disabled or elderly passengers who cannot use the normal transit system.[12] This service provides door-to-door service and is available in all of the province's larger centres, as well as in many smaller communities. There are 16 custom accessible transit systems.[9]

BC Bus North

BC Transit operates a limited intercity service with a hub in Prince George, serving as a replacement to connections lost when Greyhound left western Canada.[13] While it bears no BC Transit markings, it receives funding for operation and its scheduling, routing, and organization is guided by BC Transit.

Health Connections

BC Transit operates small interregional buses on infrequent schedules to primarily serve patients in rural areas needing access to urban centres, but makes the service available to all members of the public. The Health Connections network focuses on the Cariboo, Fraser Canyon, South Okanagan, Columbia and West Kootenays. These services, while scheduled, are not listed in standard riders guides as published by local agencies.


  1. ^ a b "BC Transit 2020/21 Annual Service Plan Report". BC Transit. pp. 11, 23. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  2. ^ a b "British Columbia Electric Railway Company". Archives. City of Vancouver. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b "BC Transit - Our History". Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Bus fleet getting 16 more double-deckers." Times Colonist. 2007 December 15. Archived from the original on 2008-12-10.
  5. ^ Little, Simon. "B.C. announces new northern bus service to replace Greyhound". Global News. Global News. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  6. ^ Taylor, Evan (October 3, 2019). "BC Transit starts outfitting buses in Greater Victoria with doors to improve driver safety". Goldstream Gazette. Black Press. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  7. ^ "BC Transit offers free rides and rear door loading". Prince George Citizen. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  8. ^ a b "BC Transit - Regional Transit System". Archived from the original on 2015-02-06. Retrieved 2015-02-06.
  9. ^ Williams, Rob. "West Coast Transit System Project". Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. ACRD.
  10. ^ Bailey, Andrew. "ACRD approves BC Transit plan for Tofino-Ucluelet". Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News. Black Press. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  11. ^ "HandyDART". Accessible Transit. TransLink. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  12. ^ Little, Simon (29 May 2019). "B.C. announces new northern bus service to replace Greyhound". Global News. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
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BC Transit
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