Ottawa promises $719K for electric buses on Gabriola Island

Ottawa promises $719K for electric buses on Gabriola Island
Gabriola Community Bus/Facebook
A GERTIE bus on Gabriola Island is pictured.

Gabriola Island will soon be replacing its public transit fleet with electric buses thanks to funding from the federal government.

Ottawa has earmarked $718,967 to purchase two new electric shuttle buses for the island just off Nanaimo, while the provincial government is also throwing $80,000 behind the project.

The two new electric buses will replace the island’s current diesel buses, and the project will also include the installation of two electric vehicle chargers.

“Public transit makes getting around easier, helps tackle climate change, and better connects communities,” said Sean Fraser, Federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“We are proud to support these projects and will keep working with rural communities from coast to coast to coast to help meet their unique needs,” he said.

Funding for the electric buses comes from the federal government’s Rural Transit Solutions Fund (RTSF).

The RTSF is doling out $1.74 million in funding for similar public transit projects across B.C. this year.

The only other Island project to receive funding through the RTSF is the Malahat First Nation, where Ottawa has promised $50,000 to help the nation develop a transit plan for its reserve.

The Gabriola Community Bus Foundation says it’s grateful for the combined $800,000 from the federal and provincial governments to electrify its fleet.

“With this purchase, GERTIE (Gabriola’s Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express) will become a genuine solar-powered transit system because most of our electricity is supplied by a solar array on the roof of our depot,” said the foundation’s board of directors in a joint statement.

“GERTIE, which is a critical component of Gabriola’s community culture, has provided over 200,000 trips on its regular service between June 2013 and June 2024.”

SEE ALSO: BC Transit to put more electric buses and charging infrastructures in B.C.

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