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B.C. pledges $479M to help TransLink avoid 'death spiral'

B.C. Premier David Eby continued his surplus spending spree Wednesday, putting $479 million into TransLink's coffers.

The bailout for buses, trains, shuttles and seabuses means commuters won't pay more for rides until the end of 2025.

Eby said the situation called for urgency, adding, "We have to act now to stabilize TransLink's finances."

The mayors’ council that oversees transit needs had warned without more funding, the region would face service reductions.

"If we did nothing, there would be fewer buses, fewer skytrains – in short, fewer ways to get around," added Eby.

The pandemic, supply chain issues and remote work have taken a toll on ridership. Kevin Quinn, CEO of TransLink, said the funding comes at a critical time, and means the organization can avoid the "transit death spiral of underinvestment."

Quinn explained further, "With less service comes less ridership and even less revenue."

Still, challenges remain – including labour shortages, a possible recession, and buses that are sometimes too full to pick up more passengers. To push for more long-term funding, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said he's leading a delegation to Ottawa in May, after the federal government delivers its next budget.

"There are hundreds of millions of dollars, billions in fact, that leave this region and go to Ottawa, and our residents deserve their fair share coming back," said West, repeating a phrase he's said several times as he urged other levels of government to pitch in more dollars.

While Wednesday’s announcement may be good for the future of transit in a region expected to welcome even more people in the coming years, Metro Vancouver is also where the NDP will need to hold onto seats to win re-election. Top Stories

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