Prince Rupert opts out of Hwy. 16 bus plan 

“While we are disappointed, we respect their decision," says minister

The Hwy. 16 action plan, the $5-million plan that would see an affordable bus service connecting communities on Hwy. 16, will not go as far as Prince Rupert anymore.

The City of Prince Rupert has recently decided not to provide funding for the plan.

“While we are disappointed that Prince Rupert has chosen not to support inter-community transit along Hwy. 16, we respect their decision to go another route,” said minister of transportation and infrastructure Todd Stone. “We have said to Prince Rupert that the door is open, should the community decide to change direction and take advantage of the transit program in the future.”

According to B.C. Transit spokesperson Jonathon Dyck, the cost for other routes will not be higher for local communities or the province based on this announcement. Burns Lake council has committed to a maximum contribution of $12,500 per year toward the plan.

“B.C. Transit continues to work with our local partners to implement new transit services along the Hwy. 16 corridor and enhance existing service,” said Dyck. “To be successful, the proposed transit routes have to be a partnership between the province of B.C., local governments, B.C. Transit, and the local community.”

Instead of supporting the Hwy. 16 action plan, the City of Prince Rupert announced on Dec. 7 it will support a localized solution with the North Coast Transition Society (NCTS) that offers at-risk women and children safe transportation.

The NCTS service enables women and children to call or text any time of the day or night if they need to travel and don’t have the means to pay. The travel assistance has been available for the past two years.

“The North Coast Transition Society’s existing service provides a safe and immediate response, and in addition NCTS provides wraparound social services and support to women and children to ensure they are adequately provided for in times of need. We believe this to be the most important priority,” said Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain.

– With files from Shannon Lough