BC Bus North was implemented under the NDP provincial government in 2018 when Greyhound cancelled services across northern BC. The transportation funding expires at the end of March 2021. (Photo: B.C. Transit)

BC Bus North was implemented under the NDP provincial government in 2018 when Greyhound cancelled services across northern BC. The transportation funding expires at the end of March 2021. (Photo: B.C. Transit)

BC Liberals call for immediate govt. renewal of BC Bus North funding

BC Liberals spent years ignoring need for better transportation in the North - Jennifer Rice, MLA

With the BC Bus North funding expiration looming at the end of March, immediate renewals for the financial support of the transportation service are being called for by BC Liberals.

“BC Bus North is a critical service in northern B.C. connecting remote communities and providing safe transportation to residents,” Michael Lee critic for Transportation and Infrastructure said, in a press release issued on Feb. 24.

The transportation service route runs two round trips weekly from Prince Rupert to Prince George, north to Fort Nelson, and south to Valemount.

“It is an extremely valuable part of the province’s transportation network. Letting the funding lapse would have devastating impacts on so many communities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when so many other transportation services are at risk due to the challenges posed by the virus,” he said.

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) told The Northern View through a media representative that Greyhound’s decision to eliminate service in 2018 left people in the north vulnerable and stranded – especially Indigenous communities, women, seniors, children, and people with disabilities.

“It is now more important than ever that we support these vital transportation networks,” Lee said. “Transportation Minister Rob Fleming needs to take real action and provide continued funding for services like BC Bus North …” Lee said. “… British Columbians need to know that the services they depend on will be available to them for years to come, and it is the responsibility of the Minister to provide certainty today.”

Northcoast NDP MLA, Jennifer Rice agreed with the opposition party representative that the bus service is vital along Hwy 16 and said it is one of the top issues she hears about from residents of the Northcoast.

However, it was the NDP that stepped up in a time of need to create BC Bus North when Greyhound cancelled bus services, she said.

“While the BC Liberals were in government, they spent years pointedly ignoring the desperate need for better transportation options in the North,” Rice said.

“This included doing nothing for many long years to address the appalling number of disappearances of primarily Indigenous women and girls along the Highway of Tears.”

The number of riders using the services differs by 4,000 in the information provided with Lee stating in the media statement 9,000 riders have used it since its inception. In an email, to The Northern View, MOTI said the number was more than 13,000 from 2018 to Dec. 2020, with 14 per cent or 1820 riders travelling between Prince Rupert and Terrace.

“We are going to continue supporting safe transportation solutions in the North to ensure they’re there when people need them,” Rice said.

“The BC Government is fully committed to continuing to fund the BC Bus North service,” the transportation ministry said. “Access to transportation in the north is a priority for this government.”

“We continue to work with our federal counterparts, communities, and other stakeholders, and expect we will be able to share more details soon,” MOTI said.

K-J Millar | Journalist
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

The Dease Lake Airport is receiving $11-million in upgrades funded by the province, Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and mining companies. (British Columbia Aviation Council)
Major upgrades coming to Dease Lake Airport

Airport to receive $11-million from the province, regional district and mining companies

Dianna Plouffe, right, with Mayor Gladys Atrill in front of Town Hall following the announcement she will be the new CAO> (Facebook photo)
Director of corporate services named Smithers CAO

Dianna Plouffe replaces Alan Harris who is retiring at the end of April

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read