9,000 passengers use new ride program on B.C.’s ‘Highway of Tears’

Transit across northern B.C. was key issue raised repeatedly during last fall’s hearings in Smithers

The British Columbia government has released a snapshot of the results of its transportation upgrades along Highway 16, the route also known as the Highway of Tears.

The update comes on the first anniversary of expanded transit service connecting communities along highway where RCMP say 18 women have disappeared or have been murdered.

A news release from the Ministry of Transportation says approximately 5,000 people have used the expanded transit service over the last year.

That service connects Prince George to Burns Lake, Smithers, the Hazelton area and Terrace, a distance of nearly 600 kilometres.

The ministry says more than 9,000 passengers have also used the new community-vehicle program since the summer.

That includes 7,000 passengers, or 43 people every day who rely on the 18-kilometre shuttle service between Vanderhoof and the Saik’uz community.

“People in northern B.C., in particular, women and teenaged girls, are benefiting from these new transportation services, knowing there is a safe link to get between communities,” Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says in the release.

Reg Mueller, Deputy Tribal Chief with the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, says the community-vehicle program provides valuable access to employment and education opportunities.

Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen says it has “changed our communities for the better.”

Transit across northern B.C. was a key issue raised repeatedly during last fall’s hearings in Smithers by the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Gladys Radek, whose 22-year-old niece Tamara Lynn Chipman disappeared while hitchhiking in Prince Rupert in 2005, told the inquiry she knows people who have to hitchhike just to go to work and called for a free shuttle bus service.

The subsidized Highway 16 transit service has prompted Greyhound Canada to ask for provincial regulatory approval to cancel its route from Prince George to Prince Rupert.

When the application was submitted last summer, Greyhound said the subsidized routes had “literally put us out of business” along the corridor.

The Passenger Transportation Board is due to rule soon on Greyhound’s application.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Vanderhoof eligible for up to $6M in provincial infrastructure funding

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Over 2,000 people used the pool in the first 2-weeks

Lifeguard training course needs a minimum of six people to register before Feb. 21

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read