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

VIDEO: Cannabis and film industry investors visit Williams Lake

There are a number of opportunties tied to the cannabis industry that will help diversify our economy

Thunder Mountain slams into gear Saturday

Drivers can’t wait to put the pedal to the floor this weekend at Thunder Mountain Speedway

Update: Fire on Fox Mountain under control

BC Wildfire chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the fire was about one hectare in size

Child Development Centre founder turns 100

CDC will be celebrating Aileen Hewett’s 100th birthday on Friday, May 25

School District 27 Board and management to respond to ministry report

Guenther, Wintjes and Futcher will speak to the report tomorrow

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country’s strict ban on most abortions.

Lava from Hawaii volcano enters ocean from 3 flows

The Kilauea volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks.

Summit talk turns warmer; Trump says ‘talking to them now’

North Korea issued a statement saying it was still “willing to give the U.S. time and opportunities” to reconsider talks

Harvey Weinstein turns himself in, arraigned on rape, criminal charges

Harvey Weinstein arraigned on rape, criminal sex act charges following allegations of sexual misconduct

Explosion at Mississauga restaurant sends 15 to hospital

Hunt underway for two suspects connected to Mississauga, Ont., blast

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

Most Read