People in northern British Columbia are benefitting from new transportation services offered under the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, knowing there is a safe link to get between communities.
In Budget 2018, the investment in this program was boosted to $7.3 million in provincial and federal funding over four years.
- New 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 new 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 fares are $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.
Community vehicle grant program
- Twelve First Nations communities and organizations have received community-vehicle grants. These grants are primarily for First Nations communities and organizations.
- The grants enable the communities to purchase and operate a community vehicle (such as a van, minivan, sport utility vehicle or a small bus) to transport people to work, school, appointments, shopping, and connecting with family and friends.
- Eleven of 12 services are up and running, with the remaining service anticipated to start soon.
First Nations driver education program
- Driver training is ongoing throughout the corridor.
- The First Nations Driver Education Program is being delivered by Carrier Sekani Family Services.
- Driving instructors provide training to First Nations community members to boost the number of Class 4 and Class 5 drivers. This includes initial training for Class 7 (learners and new drivers) to place students into the graduated licensing program.
- Over 190 First Nations students have received training, and more than 100 additional students are expected to receive training through the second term of the contract (to March 2019).
Webcams and transit shelters
- The ministry has installed 11 new web cameras to date, and has plans to activate more web cameras this year.
- The ministry has installed 15 all-weather bus shelters to date.
- In addition, six traveller shelters have been installed to support the community-vehicle grant program.
Collaboration to increase interconnectivity
- A 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.