The BC Transit Independent Review Panel’s report was released Aug. 14.
An independent panel held 25 meetings with 40 local governments across the province, before making a list of 18 recommendations to improve community transit in B.C.
Among their chief recommendations the panel called for a greater say for local governments.
Under existing legislation, the province can appoint three members to board, while local government must nominate their choices.
Presently, communities can nominate two local representatives and two members of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission.
The suggestions call for a nine-member board of directors, five of whom would be appointed at the local level.
“Local government and BC Transit decision making authority should rest with the partner that bears the consequences or benefits of any decision,” read the report.
Blair Lekstrom, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said he would respond to the report during this year’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention, taking place in Victoria, Sept. 24 to 28.
“It is very important to put the panel’s recommendations out there and provide time for everyone to consider each recommendation carefully,” Lekstrom said, calling the report “Well prepared.”
At present, local governments provide approximately 53 per cent of BC Transit’s funding.
Money is raised locally through fares, advertising and property tax.
The panel also commissioned an opinion survey of BC Transit’s 58 local government partners.
Responses show that 59 per cent of the organization’s partners felt their financial contribution did not translate into an adequate say in how the resources were spent.
The primary concern was fleet management, purchases of new buses and equipment transfers between different areas — 62 said there had been inadequate consultation.
Overall, the resounding opinion among its partners was that BC Transit needed to improve its relationship with local government, with 83 per cent responding this way.
Officials with the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s transit department were unavailable for comment this week.