People in northern B.C. are benefiting from new transportation services offered under the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, knowing there is a safe link to get between communities.
In Budget 2019, the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan has received another $800,000, bringing the total investment to $8.1 million.
- Inter-community transit services are now running along Highway 16 from Terrace to Prince George.
- The inter-community routes connect people between Smithers and Moricetown, Burns Lake and Prince George, Burns Lake and Smithers, and Terrace and the Hazeltons.
- All BC Transit Highway 16 transit services allow people to travel to their next largest community and return home the same day.
- The bus services provide an affordable way to travel between communities. The one-way fare is $2.75 for the Smithers/ Moricetown route, and the one-way fare is $5 per segment for the other routes.
- Routes 161 and 162 originating in Burns Lake now have 30-seat capacity buses and overhead package racks.
- Local and regional governments contribute one-third of the annual operating costs.
Community vehicle grant program
- Twelve communities and organizations have received community vehicle grants. These grants are primarily for Indigenous communities and organizations.
- The grants enabled the communities to purchase and operate a community vehicle (such as a van, minivan, SUV or a small bus) to transport people to work, school, appointments, shopping and connecting with family and friends.
- All 12 community transportation services are now operating in northern B.C. communities along the Highway 16 corridor.
- These safe, reliable transportation services are providing more than 2,700 rides per month to people who live and work in the North.
First Nations driver education program
- Driver training has been ongoing in several locations along the corridor, with over 200 students participating to date.
- This program is helping Indigenous peoples learn to drive commercial vehicles and helping them to obtain their Class 4, 5 and 7 driver’s licences.
- The ministry is looking to broaden the scope of the Indigenous driver education program, which is an important component in the five-point Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan.
- The ministry will be exploring a new partnership opportunity with the federal government and other provincial ministries to deliver Indigenous drivers’ education throughout the province, including within the Highway 16 corridor.
- This new approach will allow broader access to driver education for Indigenous communities — both for today and into the future.
- Having the skill to drive a car, truck or van can lead to greater employment for Indigenous peoples. This program will provide this opportunity for thousands of members of Indigenous communities around B.C.
Webcams and transit shelters
- The ministry has installed 11 new web cameras, which will help increase the safety and visibility of pedestrians and motorists along Highway 16.
- The ministry has installed 15 all-weather bus shelters.
- The ministry also completed the Bear Road at Highway 16 shelter site preparation in Prince George and helped the City of Terrace procure and install four shelters.
- In addition, six traveler shelters have been installed to support the community vehicle grant program.
Collaboration to increase interconnectivity
- The collaboration working group is continuing to review existing schedules against new transportation services being offered, including the new community vehicles, to maximize transportation access and opportunities.
- The collaboration working group includes the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, BC Transit, the First Nations Health Authority and the Northern Health Authority.