Transportation and Infrastructure

Northern residents benefiting from safer, more affordable travel on Highway 16

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Transportation and Infrastructure

Northern residents benefiting from safer, more affordable travel on Highway 16

Media Contacts
Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
250 356-8241
Media Contacts
Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
250 356-8241

Backgrounders

Updates on the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan

Expanded transit:

  • On the BC Transit route connecting Smithers and Moricetown, which started on Jan. 30, 2017, approximately 90 people use this service each month.
  • On the BC Transit route connecting Burns Lake and Prince George, which started on June 19, 2017, approximately 300 people use this service each month.
  • On the BC Transit route connecting Burns Lake and Smithers, which started on June 19, 2017, approximately 100 people use this service each month.
  • On the BC Transit route connecting Terrace and the Hazeltons, which started on Nov. 20, 2017, approximately 240 people used this service in its first full month.
  • On the BC Transit route connecting Smithers and the Hazeltons, which increased service on Nov. 20, 2017, approximately 355 people used this service in its first full month.
  • Canada’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund has helped with the purchase of new buses for the Highway 16 routes. The vehicles will be arriving and put into service later this year.

Community-vehicle program:

  • Twelve communities and organizations have received grants for community vehicles since March 2017. 
  • These grants are primarily for First Nations communities and are worth $2 million for the purchase ($750,000) and three years of operation ($1.2 million). 
  • Of these grant recipients:
    • four are up and running with vehicles (such as a van, mini-van, SUV, or a small bus) being used to transport people to jobs, school, appointments, shopping, and connecting with family and friends;
    • three are planning to start services in the coming weeks; and
    • the remaining five plan to start services in the coming months.

First Nations Driver Education Program:

  • The First Nations Driver Education Program is being delivered by Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS). CSFS was awarded this contract in October 2016, after an RFP process.
  • 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.
  • This training is supporting the community vehicle program by enabling First Nations community members to operate the community transportation service, and can lead to other good-paying jobs in the transportation sector, such as bus drivers, taxi drivers and ambulance drivers.

Webcams and transit shelters:

  • The ministry has installed seven new web cameras to date: Highway 27 at Hill Street/Greenview Street, Fort St. James, Highway 16 in Burns Lake at North Francois Highway, Highway 16 in Telkwa at Hankin Road, Highway 16 at Nautley Road in Fort George - Nechako, Highway 16 at Highway 27 in Fort George, Highway 16 at Main Street in Smithers, Highway 16 at Stella Road in Fraser Lake.
  • In the next few months, five more new web cameras will be installed: Highway 16 at Sob Lake Road, near Vanderhoof, Highway 16 at Butler Avenue, Houston, Highway 16 at North Nadina Avenue, Houston, Highway 16 at Toronto Street, Smithers, Highway 16 at Beaver Road, Moricetown.
  • The ministry has installed 15 all-weather bus shelters to date (Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Topley, Houston (two), Smithers, Moricetown, Hagwilget, Kispiox, Gitwangak, Gitaus, Kitsumkalum and Kitimat). Shelters are to be installed in Terrace and Prince George this spring. 
  • In addition, five traveller shelters have been installed to support the community-vehicle grant program (Vanderhoof, Saik’uz First Nation, Binche, Granisle and Kitwanga). Fraser Lake will receive a traveller shelter this spring. 

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 ministry, Northern Health Authority (NHA) and First Nations Health Authority are using integrated GIS mapping looking at medical transportation needs and patterns, to better co-ordinate and maximize medical transport services for people in First Nations communities.
  • NHA has confirmed that 100% of its drivers for the Northern Health Connections bus have completed the Indigenous cultural competency training offered by the Provincial Health Services Authority.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, go to: www.gov.bc.ca/highway16actionplan

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