We would like to thank the Office of the Auditor General for developing this summary report. As highlighted in the report, one of the largest challenges facing public transit today involves balancing and meeting stakeholder needs and expectations with regard to service levels, infrastructure investments and financial affordability. To address this challenge and maintain strong support for public transit, it is imperative that BC Transit continue to find ways to maximize the value it provides to customers, taxpayers, and funding partners.
The Provincial Transit Plan, which was developed during a time of higher service investment and expansion, it set goals to double ridership provincially and increase transit mode share in each of Vancouver, Victoria and the rest of the Province. The expectation of the plan was that the three levels of government would continue to partner and provide the necessary financial support to meet the goals of the plan. The results of a recent performance audit completed by the Office of the Auditor General confirms that while BC Transit has made a number of improvements to facilitate increased ridership, there is a shortfall between actual ridership and the targets set in the Provincial Transit Plan. Much of this gap is due to delays in service expansions and infrastructure investments.
Sustainable long-term revenue sources are fundamental to the ability of BC Transit to deliver on its mandate now and in the future. Since more than two thirds of total revenues come from provincial and local government sources, the growth of transit service is directly linked to financial support from these levels of government as well as the Federal government. Maintaining government funding support requires demonstrating the continuing public demand for transit services (as demonstrated through ridership) as well as the cost-effective use of public monies (as demonstrated through operating and administrative efficiency).
BC Transit remains committed to the objectives of the Provincial Transit Plan and will continue to work closely with provincial and local government partners to maximize the efficiency of existing service levels through service reviews, and strategically prioritizing investment to maximize ridership gains.
BC Transit and the Province look forward to working closely with our local government partners to meet the objectives of the Provincial Transit Plan and this report will be a valuable resource as we plan for transit in the future.