No date set for Hwy. 16 bus system 

The new Hwy. 16 bus system, which was expected to start operating by December 2016, still does not have a date set to start operating in Burns Lake.

The Regional District Bulkley-Nechako board met on March 2, 2017, and approved moving forward with a transit-service agreement, which will enable BC Transit services between Burns Lake and Prince George and Burns Lake and Smithers.

This agreement means that new bus services will run three days per week, with a proposed fare of $5 per segment.

“We continue the implementation work for the Burns Lake to Prince George, and Burns Lake to Smithers routes,” said Jonathan Dyck, a spokesperson for BC Transit. “We continue to work towards having the service operational by late spring.”

The B.C. government, through the Hwy. 16 Transportation Action Plan, has committed to five years of transit funding. The province is covering 100 per cent of the cost of the buses, as well as funding two-thirds of the operating costs. Local governments, through regional districts, will share funding for their one-third share of the operating costs.

The $6.4-million plan is intended to alleviate hitch-hiking along the so-called Highway of Tears by providing a low-cost bus service along the highway corridor. On Jan. 30, 2017, the first expanded transit services started running between Smithers and Moricetown, a six-days-per-week bus service.

As part of the plan, the Nee Tahi Buhn Band has received a grant from the provincial government to implement a public transport service that will connect Southside residents to Hwy. 16. The new service will involve a Chevrolet Suburban connecting Southside passengers to Burns Lake two or three times a week. The service is expected to be implemented by May 2017. Check ads in the Lakes District News within the next few weeks for more information.



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