TransLink is electrifying their bus routes

The 2022 TransLink Climate Strategy is now in effect, starting with updating the bus fleets in BC

This is a photo of a TransLink bus. The side of the bus says “100% electric-bus”
PHOTO: TransLink

By: Nercya Kalino, Staff Writer

At the beginning of 2022, TransLink released a Climate Action Strategy. A message from the chief executive officer Kevin Quinn stated, “It’s our responsibility, as the backbone of Metro Vancouver’s sustainable transportation system, to do everything we can to respond to the climate emergency.” Since the plan’s release, TransLink has now begun implementing their strategies. 

In February 2023, TransLink released a statement about launching a fleet of LFSe+ battery-electric buses. There are currently 15 electric buses and their aim is to quadruple TransLink’s battery-electric bus fleet by 2030. TransLink plans to order more battery-electric buses and set charging infrastructures in place so they can expand the fleet to more areas. The new Nova LFSe+ Electric bus travels “150 kilometres on a single charge and can be topped up by an on-route overhead charger within five minutes.” 

This step to electrify the roads “will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,000 tonnes annually,” according to TransLink’s estimations. They also note it will “save TransLink around $40,000 in fuel cost per bus.” 

The TransLink Climate Action Strategy outlines seven key areas where they are making changes to account for climate change. These include implementing the low-carbon electric buses, developing climate change adaptation policy, developing their resilience roadmap, and supporting a climate-resilient region and low-carbon economy. 

Quinn also stated transit is one of the most reliable sources for the public; this decision will reduce the public’s carbon footprint. “Electrifying our bus fleet and moving to renewable fuels are the fastest ways TransLink can reduce GHG emissions to help combat climate change.” This step towards the betterment of the environment was a $16 million investment administered by the Union of BC through the Canada Community-Building Fund

Chair of the Vancouver mayor’s council, Brad West, also shared his excitement. “The mayor’s council is supportive of electrifying TransLink’s fleet to help fight climate change and create a brighter future,” West stated. 

On TransLink’s announcement post on their website, most of the comments indicated curiosity on the significance of the battery. One person questioned why the initial route is a short distance, indicating it is a waste when the bus can go 150 kilometres on a single charge. 

There are more steps that TransLink has stated in their strategy plan that goes beyond the bus fleet. Since Translink is “one of British Columbia’s largest employers, fleet operators, and purchasers of fuel,” innovation for better technology and policy are included in the Climate Action Strategy. 

To read more on the TransLink Climate Action Strategy, visit the press release on the TransLink website.