First bus run of long-awaited Highway 16 transit plan launched today

 

SMITHERS – This morning's inaugural commuter bus run between Smithers and Moricetown is a milestone in a decades-long struggle to improve connectivity and safety of Highway 16 travel, and is largely due to the efforts of families of missing and murdered women along the Highway of Tears, MP Nathan Cullen said today.

“This twice-daily bus run is the first expanded service of a larger transportation plan for more affordable and accessible public transit along the 800-kilometre route between Prince Rupert and Prince George,” Cullen said from a break in proceedings during Parliament’s first day back after the winter recess.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to the families of many missing and murdered women for their tireless work over the years in applying pressure for safer transportation options along an isolated and often dangerous stretch of highway.”

Brenda and Matilda Wilson, sister and mother of Highway of Tears victim Ramona Wilson, were among a group of riders on this morning’s run to Moricetown.  The two, who now live in Prince George, have spearheaded community-based activism to improve safety along the Highway of Tears since the body of 16-year-old Ramona was found near the Smithers airport in 1995.

The Smithers-Moricetown return run operates twice daily, six days a week and costs $2.75 for each leg.  For an increased fare, rides may continue on to Telkwa.  The timing is intended to allow riders to access employment and services in the two centres nearest Moricetown. 

Funded by provincial, local and federal governments, this run is the first expanded transit service of the new Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan and connect people to services, jobs, recreation and social opportunities. 

The transportation plan includes community transportation grants, First Nations driver education, webcams and transit shelters and collaboration to increase community interconnectivity.  Additional routes servicing Hazelton and Burns Lake from Smithers are scheduled to roll out soon.

 LINK: http://nathancullen.ndp.ca/first-bus-run-of-long-awaited-highway-16-transit-plan-launched-today

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 Contact:          Francoise Godet, 250-615-5339; nathan.cullen.c2a@parl.gc.ca