Abbotsford council has approved a program to provide $50,000 per year for the supply and installation of new bus shelters.
A staff report presented to council on Dec. 12 indicates that the project will install two new shelters each year on priority routes.
The funding will come from the Community Benefit Contribution that the city receives from each unit of development that is constructed in the city and which is designated for transit improvements.
The city currently collects $225 per unit or per 100-square-metre area, and the fund currently has $1.03 million, according to the report.
The report states that the city has a total of 535 bus stops, of which 327 have benches, 41 have shelters and 167 have neither.
“Many of the 167 bus stops without benches of shelters are that way due to minimal ridership or frontage space constraints,” it states.
The city has a contract with a company that supplies and installs the benches – which include advertising – at no charge. The company pays the city $35 per bench each month, amounting to total gross annual revenue of around $137,000.
Of the 41 transit shelters, 35 are under contract with a different outdoor advertising company, which supplies and installs the shelters at no charge and pays the city a flat rate of $2,500 per month.
Of the remaining six shelters, two are owned by the city – at the McCallum Road park-and-ride and on South Fraser Way across from city hall – and four are owned by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
One more city shelter is planned by the end of December on King Road, just east of McCallum Road.
The staff report states that the existing city shelters were acquired through the annual BC Transit Shelter Program, which covers 80 per cent of the cost, with the remainder covered by the city’s operating budget.
“This program is new and the city is averaging one new shelter per year this way, and therefore this slow rollout is of concern to us if we are to increase our sustainable transportation objective of 25 per cent by the time the city reaches a population of 200,000 residents,” the report states.
It says that as the transit demand increases, so will the need “to accommodate patrons’ comfort along the routes.”
Priority for new shelters will go to the bus stops with the highest use.
In addition to the installation costs, the annual cost for maintenance of the shelters is estimated to be $20,000 through existing funding.