A virtual celebration was held Wednesday (March 24) to commemorate the completion of Abbotsford’s new transit depot.
The transit operations and maintenance facility for the Central Fraser Valley Regional Transit System opened in December 2020 on Gladys Avenue, just south of the Highway 11/Sumas Way junction.
The new site is part of the larger Central Fraser Valley Transit Future Plan that aims to make transit a reliable alternative to personal vehicles, to reduce the community’s impact on the environment, and to improve service for Abbotsford and Mission transit users.
The nine-acre site includes parking for 89 buses with the ability to expand to 150 in the future.
Seven vehicle maintenance bays, an administrative building, a bus wash and a CNG fueling station are also on site. The facility is also home to a new fleet of medium and heavy-duty compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.
The $28.6 million project was first announced in 2016 as part of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), from which approximately 83 per cent of construction costs have been provided by the federal government and the province.
The remaining construction costs are jointly covered by the City of Abbotsford and the District of Mission. Land and other costs not eligible for PTIF funding are shared by the province, Abbotsford and Mission.
Nine medium-duty and 26 heavy-duty buses are now in operation, with an additional 10 heavy-duty buses arriving by this summer.
Upon their arrival, Central Fraser Valley’s conventional fleet will be made up entirely of CNG buses.
Each 30-foot, medium-duty Grande West Vicinity CNG bus can carry up to 24 seated passengers and 20 standing passengers.
The 40-foot heavy duty XN40 Xcelsior CNG buses by New Flyer can carry 35 seated passengers and 46 standing passengers.
All buses are equipped with a bike rack which accommodates three-inch tires, a white LED destination sign, and full driver door designed to protect the health and safety of drivers and passengers. Heavy-duty CNG buses also come with USB ports at each seat.
The cost of each medium-duty CNG bus is approximately $455,000, while each heavy-duty bus is approximately $700,000.
All are funded through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), with the federal and provincial goverments each contributing 40 per cent of the cost. Abbotsford and Mission contributed the remaining 20 per cent. FortisBC contributed $320,000 towards the implementation of CNG buses in the Central Fraser Valley fleet.
The project drew criticisms from neighbours in 2018 who were concerned about noise and light pollution, as well worries that pile-driving on the site could crack their foundations.