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

West Kelowna mayor to run for councillor position

After saying he won’t seek re-election as mayor, it appears Doug Findlater wants to stay on council

Ash falling in the Okanagan

Reports on social media of ashes on cars around the Okanagan

Temporary smoke relief in sight for Kelowna

Kelowna is expected to see a break in smoke until tomorrow afternoon

Kelowna developer warns home buyers to look at more than the price tag

Kelowna developer Jeffrey Anderson wants first-time homeowners to look at more than the price tag.

Canadian Armed Forces assist with mop-up of fire near West Kelowna

100 Armed Forces members are helping BC Wildfire crews with the Gottfriedson Mountain fire

Snowy Mountain fire travelling away from communities

The Snowy Mountain fire near Keremeos remains at 13,359 hectares in size

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former Shuswap optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Osland to make LPGA Tour debut

Kelowna’s Megan Osland has earned an exemption into next week’s CP Women’s Open in Regina.

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read