10 ways we’re making it easier for you to get around in BC

Here in BC, we’re blessed to live somewhere with wild spaces so close to our cities and towns — and we count on safe, reliable infrastructure to help us enjoy it.

But we can’t take our roadways, highways, bridges and transit infrastructure for granted. After years of neglect under the BC Liberals (now Kevin Falcon’s BCUP), our BC NDP government has spent the last six years building, rebuilding and strengthening the systems we use to stay connected. We’re committed to making sure our province’s infrastructure and transportation systems are the best they can be, and that they’re reliable and ready for the future.

It’s the right thing to do for people, our province, and our future. Here are 10 ways we’re making it easier for you to get around and enjoy BC.

1. Removing unfair tolls — saving drivers hundreds each year

Under the BC Liberals (now the BCUP), BC commuters who live south of the Fraser faced big costs every time they had to use the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. It was an unfair system, and one we pledged to fix when we formed government.

We banned tolls in summer 2017, saving regular commuters up to $900 a year, and commercial drivers close to $2,000 a year. This is a big win for people, but one we can’t take for granted. BCUP leader Kevin Falcon has repeatedly spoken in favour of tolls and doesn’t care about the impact it has on drivers who need to use the bridges for work and services.

2. Expanding SkyTrain service with the Broadway Subway and the Surrey-Langley Skytrain

People want to make the switch to cleaner and more affordable transportation, but it can be tough for those living outside of Vancouver. Our BC NDP government announced the first rapid transit expansion south of the Fraser River in 30 years with the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project, which will go from Surrey to Langley City.

There’s also good news for the tens of thousands of people who daily ride buses along the Broadway corridor — the Broadway Subway project is well under way and will save the average commuter almost 30 minutes a day.

And for folks who use transit serving different routes in the lower mainland, we’ve also funded 5 new RapidBus routes in 11 communities, 200 new SkyTrain cars, 40,000 additional bus service hours, and increased SeaBus sailings during peak hours by 50%, so commuters heading to and from the North Shore only have to wait 10 minutes between trips.

3. Implementing free transit for kids under 12

Since 2021, transit in BC has been free for children under 12 to make it easier and more affordable for families to get around. There are so many benefits — free transit promotes green transportation, and saves working families up to $672 a year per child. Free transit is just one way we’re helping families save money and lower their carbon footprint.

4. Building a new Patullo bridge and a new Massey crossing

The Patullo Bridge was built in 1937(!) and it’s been ready for retirement for a very long time. In 2018 our government announced we were fully-funding a replacement for the Patullo and construction is underway.

We’re also moving forward on a toll-free, eight lane replacement for the Massey Tunnel, improving travel for people along Highway 99 between Richmond and Delta.

5. Adding more EV chargers and connections around the province — plus rebates on e-bikes for urban commuters

More people than ever are choosing electric vehicles. But in a province as big as ours, having access to chargers is essential. We’re making it more convenient to drive electric vehicles by creating one of the largest public charging networks in Canada, with more than 4,800 stations.

We want people to have options for getting around. That’s why in 2023 we also stepped up to make e-bikes more affordable and accessible. Our government invested more than $6 million in rebates for people who chose to buy electric bikes, which meant more than 9,000 British Columbians had a chance to get an e-bike at a lower cost. The program was a huge success!

6. Expanding 911 service on rural and remote highways

BC’s vast wilderness can make it hard to get reception on rural and remote roads — which makes it dangerous for travellers. If you can’t call 911 for help, a bad situation can quickly become worse. That’s why our government is expanding cell coverage through hard to reach places, and making sure that there is continuous 911 service along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. And by 2027, another 550 kilometres of highway will get cell phone service too.

7. Connecting people in northern communities with BC Bus North

When Greyhound announced it was eliminating bus routes in northern BC, people were left behind. Our government stepped up to fill the gap with BC Bus North service in response to Greyhound’s decision to eliminate service on routes in northern B.C., ensuring people in the North have access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation.

8. Freezing BC Ferries fares and restoring crucial secondary routes

People who live on the coast shouldn’t be punished with high ferry fares when they need to travel. Our BC NDP government froze fares on all major BC Ferries routes, reduced fares on smaller routes, and restored the 100% Mon-Thurs seniors discount.

And to help reconnect coastal communities who saw reduced ferry service in 2014 when the BC Liberals callously cut their routes, we restored service to 10 ferry routes, bringing back 2,700 sailings.

9. Bringing ride-hailing services to BC — with new rules to protect drivers and passengers

People want options when they travel by vehicle, and that includes services from ride-hailing companies. In 2019, our government introduced ride-hailing regulations focused on passenger, driver and company safety. As of Feb 2024 companies like Uber and Lyft operate in 10 communities across BC.

10. Kept transportation options moving during the pandemic — and rebuilt crucial highways after the atmospheric river in November 2021

When people stayed home to stay safe during the pandemic, public transportation suffered. To protect these important services, we teamed up with the federal government to provide $1 billion in funding to TransLink, BC Transit, and BC Ferries to ensure people could continue to have access to safe, reliable and affordable public transportation options despite the decrease in ridership due to the pandemic.

November 2021’s atmospheric river caused floods, washouts and mudslides, damaging all three major highways connecting the coast with communities in the interior and north — with widespread, critical damage to the Coquihalla. Our government mobilized a massive effort to reopen and rebuild these highways, and make them more stable and climate resilient in the future.

Looking ahead in 2024

We know there’s more to do to make sure British Columbians have reliable infrastructure — and we’re focused on doing just that. Look for even more action from Premier David Eby and our BC NDP team this year in the lead up to the election this fall.

Want to stay connected to the work we’re doing on affordability for people in BC? Join our movement by adding your name below.