9,000 passengers have used new ride program on ‘Highway of Tears’: Province

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

Open houses regarding transit between Penticton and Kelowna

The meetings will be held in Summerland, Princeton, Penticton, Peachland and Osoyoos on Dec. 4 and 5

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Kelowna Rockets aim to start win streak in return to home ice

The Rockets are coming off a 6 game road trip, and face the Regina Pats Wednesday night

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read