This BC Transit bus is the size and type of the bus to be used in a pending service connecting Terrace with the Hazeltons and points in between. (File photo)

Hazelton-Terrace transit service waits on First Nations

The plan is to provide bus service along Highway 16 three days per week.

The chair of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district hopes to get transit service connecting Terrace to the Hazeltons up and running as soon as possible.

But the crucial details involving financing and days of service yet to be hammered out, says Phil Germuth.

“We need to get agreements in place that satisfy everybody,” he said.

Chief among those agreements is settling on financing the service which, based on information released last fall, is estimated to cost $271,600 a year.

The provincial government is contributing $141,000 a year for operational costs as well as $60,000 to lease a vehicle through BC Transit.

The anticipated ridership fare revenue, based at $5 a trip, is $17,900 a year, leaving $52,500 to be provided by the regional district through its existing transit agreements with its participating local governments and with First Nations along the route.

“We’ve had verbal confirmations but no band council resolutions yet for signed contracts,” said Germuth.

The City of Terrace has already agreed to provide money through its participation in the regional district and it is part of the overall $52,500 to be funneled through the regional district.

A key part of First Nations financing came through last week when the Gitxsan Government Commission, which represents four First Nations in and around the Hazeltons, agreed on their behalf to take part in the service.

That leaves three First Nations to sign on, although the Kitselas First Nation is part of a regional transit service already provided through the regional district.

Based on information last fall through BC Transit, three days a week of service is contemplated with one round trip on Tuesdays and Thursdays and two on Saturdays.

There would also be two round trips the last Thursday.

That prospect of a Saturday service would be a benefit to the Kitselas First Nation’s Gitaus subdivision east of Terrace on Highway 16.

That’s because the current Terrace and area transit service connecting the area east of Terrace to the city is offered only on weekdays.

And there’s one other potential additional benefit — the prospect of Saturday service from Terrace west to Kitsumkalum and New Remo using the same bus coming in from the Hazeltons.

“That would be an unintended good consequence,” said Germuth. “And it’s something that would need to be worked out with the scheduling.”

The bus to service the Terrace to Hazelton route would seat approximately 20 people, a number that could vary depending upon space set aside for passengers using wheelchairs, say BC Transit officials.

BC Transit already has vehicles of this type in its inventory, meaning the service could start quickly once details are hammered out, they add.

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