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Transit goal not being reached: Auditor

Along with a goal to slash greenhouse gas emissions by a third, former premier Gordon Campbell called for transit use to be doubled by 2020. - Black Press files
Along with a goal to slash greenhouse gas emissions by a third, former premier Gordon Campbell called for transit use to be doubled by 2020.
— image credit: Black Press files

VICTORIA – The B.C. government's ambitious goal to double transit ridership by 2020 is not going to be met at the current rate of growth, Auditor General John Doyle reported Thursday.

Doyle's audit of BC Transit's efforts to meet that goal found that since it was set in 2008, ridership increased by 6.9 million by last spring, the latest annual total available. The original target was 9.4 million by that time, and the gap is expected to grow further by 2014-15.

The provincial transit plan was unveiled early in 2008 by former premier Gordon Campbell and then-transportation minister Kevin Falcon. Its $14 billion price tag included federal and municipal investment, with SkyTrain and other urban light rail accounting for $10 billion.

It included the now-completed Canada line, the Evergreen extension to Coquitlam and another SkyTrain extension to the University of B.C.

Rapid bus systems for Kelowna and Victoria were the only parts of the plan outside the Lower Mainland.

The audit identified a lack of clear targets and collaboration between BC Transit and the B.C. transportation ministry, and recommended that the targets and timelines be reviewed.

The audit was underway when the province did its own review of BC Transit's rocky relationship with local governments.

Transportation Minister Mary Polak announced in September that local communities will be asked to nominate directors for the BC Transit board, and the province would make it easier to amalgamate a patchwork of local transit systems into regional authorities like the one that serves Greater Victoria.

The B.C. government pays 47 per cent of costs for BC Transit service in partnership with 58 local governments in B.C.

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