Transit concerns discussed at conference

NANAIMO – Public transportation takes a front seat in Nanaimo as B.C. Transit hosts its annual conference.

Mike Frost

Mike Frost

Public transportation took a front seat at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre this week at B.C. Transit’s annual conference.

More than 160 delegates from 81 transit systems around the province attended workshops on fleet management, increasing revenue streams, labour relations and safety.

Joe Stanhope, Regional District of Nanaimo chairman, said the four-day conference is an ideal time to discuss issues and concerns, especially since the government announced an independent review of B.C. Transit.

“For transit around the province to be successful, it has to be affordable,” he said. “To be affordable, there has to be communication. We all have similar problems and this is a perfect time to get the message across. The conference is a good indication B.C. Transit is listening to our concerns.”

B.C. Transit also used the conference to unveil its new Nova bus.

Along with a newly designed interior and exterior, the Nova’s engine technology is compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent diesel emission standards.

With 12 three-year-old Novas in its fleet already, Nanaimo Regional Transit won’t be purchasing any new buses in the near future.

“The new ones are only slightly different than the ones we have, but our diesel engines are still fuel-efficient,” said Stanhope. “When you look at the age of our fleet, it isn’t bad. We can’t afford to buy new buses simply because there are new buses.