The first expanded transit services will start running on Jan. 30, 2017, as part of the B.C. government’s Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, connecting people to services, jobs, recreation, family and friends.
The new commuter bus route travels between Smithers and Moricetown, with buses running six days per week. The fare for the 30-minute ride is $2.75.
A new all-weather bus shelter was installed at the Gas Bar in Moricetown. There are several bus stops in both communities as well.
More local governments will be entering into agreements with BC Transit for expanded transit services over the spring.
The $5-million Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan has been developed to improve safety along this 800 kilometre stretch of highway, in particular to provide better and safer transportation options for women and teenage girls.
As part of the action plan, the B.C. government committed funding to BC Transit over three years to support enhanced transit service. As discussions have taken place with local regional districts, municipalities and First Nations along the corridor, BC Transit and the ministry have been asked for a longer term commitment to these services. The B.C. government has now committed to fund a 4th and 5th year of transit operations.
For the expanded transit services, 100% of the vehicles are being covered, and the Province is funding two-thirds of the operating costs. Local governments, through regional districts, are working together to share costs for their one-third share of the operating costs.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and MLA of Nechako Lakes on behalf of Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure –
“It is gratifying to see the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan move from a vision into a reality. This is especially important for the residents of Smithers and Moricetown, who will greatly benefit from this new six day a week bus service. This new transit service offers a safe, affordable, and convenient transportation option for people, whether they are commuting to work, going to school, visiting a friend or family member, or going to an appointment.”
Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit chief executive officer and president –
“The start of the new transit service between Moricetown and Smithers is the result of hard work by staff the Province of B.C., BC Transit and local communities. We continue to work to implement new and enhanced transit services on Highway 16.”
Mayor Taylor Bachrach, Smithers –
“Council and I are thrilled to see the new Moricetown transit service up and running. Not only will it help ensure the safety of residents traveling between our communities, it also marks the first partnership of its kind between the Moricetown Band and Town of Smithers. We appreciate the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure's commitment to this important file, which has made timely transit service expansion possible.”
Moricetown Band Chief Duane Mitchell –
“On behalf of the Moricetown Band we would like to thank BC Transit and the Town of Smithers for this opportunity to provide safe and reliable transportation for our membership. We are very excited about the transit start date of Jan. 30, 2017, and look forward to a meaningful relationship with all parties involved in making this transit project happen.”
To learn more about the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, go to: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-reports-and-reference/reports-studies/planning-strategic-economic/highway16-action-plan
For the new route and schedules, go to: https://bctransit.com/smithers/schedules-and-maps/route-overview?route=23