Decision-making on transit policy

Key policy decisions that affect the likely success of transit are made by a variety of stakeholders at different levels.

To consider: What collaboration is required from each partner to ensure effective implementation of transit plans?

For example:

Land Use

Land use policy and planning is a crucial tool for transforming transit usage in a financially sustainable way; conversely, if land-use planning does not consider transit, it can make it more difficult for transit to be financially viable. Local governments in British Columbia currently make many of the key decisions in land use planning. Provincial government decisions also influence land use and development.

 To consider: How can transit and land use planning processes effectively be integrated?


Broader transportation policies such as the location and size of highways and bridges, parking fees, or road regulations also affect transit’s financial and environmental success. Transit services often cross jurisdictional boundaries, and therefore require collaboration between different jurisdictions and levels of government to run smoothly and consistently. For example, the proposed rapid transit project for Victoria would run through five municipalities and on a highway that is under provincial jurisdiction.

To consider: How are transit goals integrated into the overall vision for the overall vision for transportation in B.C.?


Government economic policies and other decisions beyond the transportation arena can also influence the success and financial viability of transit services—for example, tax policies (such as a carbon tax, or tax deductions for a bus pass)  or regional development policies. Energy policy also has a direct influence on transit; when consumers feel gas prices are low, they may maintain or increase single-occupancy vehicle use rather than choosing more energy efficient transportation such as public transit.

To consider: What are the potential impacts of other government initiatives and activities on the achievement of transit objectives? If these may have a negative impact, how can conflicting priorities be reconciled? 

Other important decisions that influence transit success at the local level include the location, fares and level of transit service to be provided. These choices are closely linked to funding decisions. Many of these decisions are made by local governments, or local governments in partnership with provincial government and/or BC Transit – see Transit roles and responsibilities and the BC Transit funding sources section.

The Provincial Transit Plan provided transit authorities and local governments with a vision that could inspire transportation decisions in support of the above mentioned goals. BC Transit’s ability to implement the goals and objectives of the Provincial Transit Plan are dependent upon how transit decisions are made. As local governments have the responsibility to make decisions regarding transit service levels, BC Transit’s ability to control or influence decisions is limited by the realities of local government affordability and its own local goals and objectives for transit. BC Transit advised us that the world economic crisis which occurred subsequent to the release of the Provincial Transit Plan put further pressure on local governments' ability to achieve and support Provincial Transit Plan goals and objectives, and in many cases simply maintaining current transit service levels has proven to be a challenge.