Public transit in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows is improving as part of a $900,000-boost from the provincial government for new transit projects across B.C.
Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will receive $230,000 for new signs, improving bus shelters and improving access to those shelters.
The funding is part of the provincial government’s 2008 transit plan.
Five sites will be targeted for makeovers in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge. A new bus bay with a wheelchair landing pad and wheelchair ramps will be built along Lougheed Highway at 216th Street, in Maple Ridge.
Pitt Meadows will also receive a new wheelchair-accessible bus bay on Lougheed Highway and Kennedy Way and Lougheed Highway and Allan Way.
“We’re getting a quarter of the funding, so this is good for our community. I’m happy about that,” said Marc Dalton, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission.
“The more accessibility and the more availability means people can depend on the system to get to school and work. It’s about encouraging people to use the system.
He added that money will help people with disabilities.
“Our overall demographic is aging, so this is really valuable for seniors. It’s just good news for the residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows,” he added.
The new bus bays will ensure riders, especially those with disabilities, will have safer, easier access to transportation along Lougheed Highway, he added.
NDP MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Michael Sather says more can be done.
“I think the improvements are welcome. I’m glad to see those improvements at the bus stops but overall transit has been suffering quite substantially,” he said.
“We’re still trying to deal with the Evergreen Line proposal, rapid transit south of the river and increased tolls and so on. There’s no doubt we need transit improvements. I’m in favour of improvements being made, but there’s a lack of them. We’re really falling behind.
“The carbon tax is being used to reduce other taxes, but mayors are telling us that money should be put towards public transit. So it’s a bit of a stalemate there,” Sather added.
The government’s overall transit plan is to increase transit ridership across the province to over 400 million trips a year, increase the hours of service, provide more buses more often, improve services for those with mobility challenges and ease traffic congestion and make all communities a healthier place to live and easy to get around.
“We want to make it easier and more convenient for people to leave their cars at home and take public transit,” Blair Lekstrom, minister of transportation and infrastructure, said. “These improvements will make transit more accessible and comfortable for commuters.”