Twenty inter-city bus operators and 55 regional airports are approved to receive funding to help them stay open and provide essential transportation services to British Columbians.
“Our government is working to keep vital services operating during this unprecedented time, and this funding will help British Columbians – especially those in rural areas of the province – have a safe and reliable way to travel to essential appointments,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We know inter-city bus companies and regional airports were in critical need of funding to keep their operations going during COVID-19. With this investment, inter-city buses and regional airports will now have the funding they need to continue operating and serving people.”
The Province has issued a one-time investment of $6.2 million to a number of inter-city bus operators and $16.5 million for regional airports to support operations between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022. The bus operators and airports will use the funds to pay for operating costs, like maintenance expenses for buses, air terminals and runways. The funds will also go toward payroll, rent and other overhead costs to keep these services operating.
“Universal Coach, operators of the Skylynx Shuttle, are deeply grateful to the Province for supporting the transportation needs of the Sea-to-Sky First Nations and communities,” said Lindsay Moir, vice-president, Universal Coach Line Ltd. “Our drivers and staff, with years of specialized experience, can breathe easier knowing their jobs will continue. Locals looking for car-free transportation for employment, and medical and personal appointments, can depend on Skylynx to be there thanks to this government’s initiative.”
The funding will help operators recover from this challenging time and build back even stronger.
“We want to congratulate the Province for showing national leadership in supporting and recognizing the importance of B.C. airports to the global economy,” said Sam Samaddar, airport director, Kelowna International Airport. “This funding will provide a lifeline to YLW to maintain critical airport services that support cargo operations and medevac services while we wait for commercial air service to recover.”
This funding builds on additional financial support provided by the Province to the transportation sector. This includes allowing taxi operators to defer licence renewals if they are not operating, rather than losing their licences and having to reapply, as well as ensuring taxi companies can access and benefit from the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program.
In addition, over $1 billion in joint funding with the federal government will allow TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries to maintain essential transportation service levels throughout the province and help make sure fares remain affordable as part of BC’s Restart Plan.
Two backgrounders follow.