The BC government has released a snapshot of ridership one year after introducing enhanced transit services along the Highway 16 corridor.
A news release from the Ministry of Transportation says about 5,000 people have used the system which connects Prince George, Burns Lake, the Hazeltons, and Terrace.
The first inter-community transit service along Highway 16 started in January, 2017, connecting Smithers and Moricetown. Since then, several other new inter-community routes have launched, connecting Burns Lake and Prince George, Burns Lake and Smithers, and Terrace and the Hazeltons.
The low-cost transit initiative was a long-standing recommendation to enhance safety and reduce hitchhiking along the Highway of Tears.
“Thousands of people are benefiting from the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, which was developed in close consultation with First Nations and local governments,” says Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson in a news release. “The implementation of the plan gives safe and affordable transportation options for B.C.’s northern communities located along the Highway 16 corridor.
The community-vehicle program has seen over 9,000 passengers since the summer, including 7,000 passengers who take the shuttle service between Vanderhoof and the community of Saik’uz.
“The community-vehicle program has had a very positive impact in both Vanderhoof and Saik’uz,” says Reg Mueller, Deputy Tribal Chief, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and Advisory Council member. “With the community vehicles providing reliable transport, this is providing valuable access to employment and education opportunities.”