Shifting to more environmentally-sustainable modes of transportation, such as transit, drastically reduces the number of single occupant vehicles on the road, reduces traffic and helps achieve an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in support the Province of BC’s CleanBC Plan.
BC Transit strives to be “your best transportation solution” by using resources wisely and providing sustainable solutions to deliver transportation services you can rely on. In addition to being an environmentally-sustainable mode of transportation, we aim to further reduce our environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions by continually finding ways to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions on older buses, as well as implement innovative solutions to reduce the environmental impact of our facilities.
The Road We Are On
In alignment with our Strategic Plan, BC Transit maintains robust environmental compliance programs and develops new or enhanced programs that aim to continually improve and highlight our environmental performance. Moving forward, we plan to expand our environmental sustainability actions and priorities to include “base plus” and “innovative” initiatives while balancing core day-to-day work.
- In November 2018, BC Transit approved a Low Carbon Fleet Program to support provincial targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to align with the CleanBC plan.
- In 2020, as part of the Low Carbon Fleet Program, 95 diesel buses were replaced with quieter, greener Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses. The benefits of CNG technology are both environmental and economic, with reductions in CO2 emissions and operational costs. FortisBC supplies natural gas for our CNG fleets, while the CNG fueling station, located at the Langford operations and maintenance facility, is built and maintained by Clean Energy Canada.
The 2020 CNG fleet expansion adds upon our existing CNG facilities located in Nanaimo, Kamloops and Whistler.
- In 2019, BC Transit committed to build to Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code and achieve LEED Gold or equivalency for new Operation and Maintenance Facilities. The first facility to be built to this standard is currently being designed and constructed in View Royal to service Greater Victoria. For more information on the Victoria HandyDART visit https://www.bctransit.com/viewroyal/handydart
- Work is underway to update the Environmental Management System for the Victoria Regional Transit Systems, as well as develop guidelines for an Environmental Management Program for Regional Operations.
- In Fall 2020, BC Transit amended our Procurement Policy to include commitments to green and sustainable procurement of goods and services.
- BC Transit has an active “Green Team” that develop strategies to reduce BC Transit's impact on the environment while encouraging our employees to practice sustainable behaviours at the workplace and in their homes.
- BC Transit continually strives to reduce the environmental impact our operations by investing in new technologies such as the Kamloops Transit Centre’s bus wash which recycles 80 per cent of the water used.
- BC Transit and BC Scrap-It provides incentives to help British Columbians replace higher polluting vehicles with cleaner forms of transportation like transit and cycling. In Victoria, you can trade in your car for up to nine months of free transit. More details are available at www.scrapit.ca.
The Road Ahead
We're constantly striving to be cleaner and greener — it's one of BC Transit’s Strategic Plan objectives to use our resources wisely and develop the most sustainable transportation solutions.
We’ve committed to operating a low-carbon, fully-electric fleet by 2040, cutting emissions significantly and meeting the Province’s targets. Over the next five years, we will be replacing up to 45 per cent of our provincial fleet. We’re actively pursuing new innovations and exploring various technologies and fuels, including CNG, fully electric buses and new electric hybrid systems.
- For the 2021 - 2025, BC Transit will acquire over 130 electric buses including:
- Electric heavy duty buses
- Electric double decker buses
- Electric light duty buses
- For the 2025 - 2031 time period, BC Transit plans to acquire over 800 additional electric buses. All of these vehicles will replace older fossil fuel models.
- Expansions will be supported primarily with electric buses.
- Greenhouse gas reductions are expected to be:
- Over 700 metric tonnes by end of 2022
- Over 11,000 metric tonnes by end of 2025
- Over 50,000 metric tonnes by the end of 2031
- Annual fleet GHG emissions by 2030 will be greater than 60 per cent lower than current annual fleet emissions.
- Enhance our environmental regulatory compliance program
- Cultivate environmental sustainability values, attitudes and behaviours through various technological and cultural initiatives
- Embrace environmental sustainability in the design, construction and renovation of operations and maintenance facilities in an effort to reduce BC Transit’s environmental footprint
- Develop and implement environmental sustainability plans to include initiatives in areas of energy and water conservation as well as waste reduction
- Develop tools such as reports and dashboards to be accountable for our environmental performance.
- Continue to research and respond to new technologies, government regulations and reporting best practices
The Road Already Travelled
We’re proud of our leadership role in testing and implementing new lower-carbon vehicles and technologies.
- In 2018, BC Transit trialed a battery electric bus from June – October 2018 to determine if the technology could achieve BC Transit’s goal to meet the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets as mandated by the BC Climate Change Accountability Act. The test provided a better understanding of the capabilities, range, and operational processes and requirements of an electric bus type.
- Between 2009 - 2014, BC Transit led a five year pilot of 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses in Whistler, coinciding with the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. At the time this made it the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet.
- Our current fleet includes four hybrid electric buses, including the first hybrid double-deck bus in North America.
- BC Transit was the first company in North America to test and purchase medium-duty Vicinity buses, which offer substantial advances in fuel efficiency and long-term cost savings when compared to conventional buses.
- In 2009, BC Transit started purchasing hybrid vehicles for Transit Supervisors in the Victoria Regional Transit System.
- BC Transit provides three electric pool cars for employees to use to travel between locations within the Victoria Regional Transit System.
In 2014, BC Transit started deploying CNG buses at both the Kamloops and Nanaimo facilities. The CNG fleet was subsequently expanded in Whistler in 2017 and Langford in 2020.
- At BC Transit we also support alternative modes of transportation by providing Bike and Ride services in communities across B.C. Most buses are equipped with bike racks and there is no extra charge to bring your bike on board. Instructions are posted right on the racks.
We have developed robust programs to reduce our environmental impact and ensure we are in compliance with local, provincial and federal environmental regulations.
Environmental aspects covered by these programs include:
- Hazardous materials and waste
- Storm and waste water
- Contaminated sites
BC Transit has developed several tools in response to increasing demands from the Provincial Government to report on our environmental performance in the areas of carbon emissions and recycling through the annual Carbon Neutral Action Report and the Recycle BC Report