Technology for Smarter and Safer Buses Coming to Whistler and Squamish

Dec 21, 2016
Transit Systems: Squamish, Whistler

Sea to Sky – Buses in Whistler and Squamish and across the province are getting smarter and safer with continued implementation of best-in-class technologies. The Resort Municipality of Whistler and District of Squamish have signed memorandum of understandings to introduce a new Real Time information system.

The installation of these new technologies is part of the almost $160 million in federal and provincial funding for BC Transit projects that was first announced in June, together with Premier Christy Clark and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

BC Transit and its partners have prioritized technology enhancements that will pave the way for a better customer experience. Continued technological enhancements to buses include:

• Closed circuit TV (CCTV), to increase the safety of passengers and drivers.
• Real Time information about where buses are located to make service more convenient
• Automatic passenger counters enabling BC Transit to optimize service delivery based on precise and timely data.

"These new technologies are about improving the transit experience overall. Transit users in Whistler and Squamish will soon benefit from the addition of real-time technology so they will know exactly when their bus is scheduled to arrive. These modernizations will, in many ways, redefine how we interact with transit from beginning to end - for the better," said Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver - Sea to Sky on behalf of Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Todd Stone. "The addition of these technologies on buses will also provide residents of Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish with an extra sense of safety and reliability when they choose transit. Now, not only is transit the most sustainable choice, but a convenient one too."

“The Government of Canada recognizes how important safe and efficient transit infrastructure is to growing the middle class and getting Canadians to work and back home to their families at the end of the day,” said Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast and Sea to Sky Country on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “We are committed to supporting improvements to public transit systems, such as these bus upgrades in Whistler and Squamish, to help municipalities across British Columbia deliver safe, modern and efficient public transit services to residents.”

BC Transit is working with its provincial and local partners to finalize plans for the implementation of Real Time information technology. Real Time information will allow customers to determine when buses are due to arrive or leave their location via a mobile app, website, or passenger information displays at key exchanges. Communities that are expected to introduce Real Time include Kamloops, Nanaimo, Comox Valley, Squamish, Whistler, Kelowna, and Victoria.

“Continuing to enhance the service we provide to transit users in the Whistler area is an important component of encouraging ridership,” said Resort Municipality of Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “We are excited by these investments to make transit information experiences more efficient and accessible and look forward to seeing them implemented.”

“Improving active transportation infrastructure, transit, and affordable, accessible alternatives to the car across our community is a key goal of the District of Squamish, and we welcome this technological improvement in transit service as an opportunity to highlight the convenience of riding transit and encourage more residents to do so,” says District of Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman. “We’re very pleased to be one of the communities where this technology will be piloted, as this added convenience feature will no doubt vastly improve the rider experience.”

BC Transit will be releasing a request for proposals to find a vendor to install and maintain the real time technology in January 2017. BC Transit staff have been researching and evaluating technology enhanced systems in peer transit systems across Canada and the United States.

“Our team has seen the benefits of real time technology in other communities, and the value of being able to provide the reassurance to customers that the bus is on its way,” said Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit Executive Director of Business Development. “It is our goal to improve the customer experience by allowing customers to know when their bus will actually arrive using GPS technology.”

Work continues on the implementation of the CCTV cameras across the Province of BC, and research and evaluation of automatic passenger counters. 

Whistler will have CCTV cameras installed on their current fleet of buses acquired after 2005 early in 2017. BC Transit currently has over 180 buses in its fleet with closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras installed. The buses are located in Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Chilliwack. The buses with CCTV cameras are medium- and heavy-duty buses acquired after 2005. All new medium duty, heavy duty and high capacity buses will be delivered with the cameras already installed.

In partnership with local governments, BC Transit provides access to public transit to more than
1.6 million British Columbians in 130 communities outside Metro Vancouver. As a result of our commitment to transit in B.C., communities with as few as 1,000 people have access to transit making BC Transit a unique service for smaller communities anywhere in Canada.

The Province also provides the highest level of operating funding support, per capita, for transit in Canada.

For more information on transit in Squamish and Whistler, please visit

Media Contact:

Jonathon Dyck
BC Transit Communications Manager 

Resort Municipality of Whistler Communications