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

Rising river prompts road closure in Chilliwack

Fraser expected to continue rise on Monday

Fraser River water levels creeping towards near-record highs

Mission gauge currently reading just under 6 metres but forecasted to rise

VIDEO: Canadian Forces members begin helping out flooded B.C. communities

Three-hundred personnel in B.C. in some off hardest hit cities

FLOOD: 18 homes in Nicomen Island area under evacuation order

Fraser Valley Regional District issues order due to safety concerns

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

‘Concussion is at the forefront of our thinking’: Rodeo doctor

As in any other contact sport, concussion prevention and treatment efforts continue to evolve

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

Police investigate sexual assault in Fraser Valley

Man grabs woman by shoulders and makes sexual comments

Most Read