TransLink has unveiled a modernized and expanded transit centre in Surrey that will handle many more buses as service South of the Fraser expands.
The upgraded centre on 132 Street near 76 Avenue will be able to house up to 300 buses, including up to 50 big articulated buses that use hybrid electric engines, as well as compressed natural gas buses.
That’s a big increase from the old capacity of 225 buses, allowing the current Surrey-based fleet of 187 vehicles to expand by as much as 60 per cent as needed.
“We should be good for at least 50 years,” TransLink Chief Operating Officer Doug Kelsey said.
The expansion is important, he said, because of the projected growth in population and demand in the Surrey area.
“We’ll have the capacity to handle even more transit services here that we anticipate will be coming to the South of Fraser area in the years ahead,” Kelsey said.
The $12.7-million project was built with contributions of $2.5 million from the province and $2.1 million from the federal government and officially opened Monday (July 4).
The new centre is considered much greener than its predecessor.
The bus washing system has a recycling system that cuts water consumption 80 per cent, while advanced wastewater treatment removes oil and grease.
Bus washing is also faster, getting coaches back in service sooner.
Fuel is now stored above ground, rather than in underground tanks, reducing the risk of soil contamination.
The site houses a vast area for parking buses and a large complex of garage bays for maintenance.
The 650 employees who work there don’t just maintain, fuel and wash buses.
They also run the Transit Communication Centre, which manages the day-to-day operations of TransLink’s entire fleet across Metro Vancouver.