Moricetown-Smithers bus schedule.

Moricetown-Smithers bus schedule.

Moricetown bus set to roll Jan. 30

After a slight delay to find a driver, Moricetown Band says the premiere run will be Jan. 30.

The new six-day bus between Smithers and Moricetown will start running on Jan. 30, according to Moricetown Band.

It was delayed a week to find a driver.

That Monday morning, the first bus will leave Roi Theatre at 7:30 a.m., arriving at the Moricetown Gas Bar at 8:02 a.m. The first return trip leaves Moricetown at 8:05 a.m. and arrives back in Smithers at 8:37 a.m.

Members of the Moricetown Band council and Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach plan on being among the first passengers on this trip.

The BC Transit service will run one return trip each morning and afternoon, Monday to Saturday. Saturdays will be a couple hours later in the morning and earlier in the afternoon.

Rates are $2.75 one way, or $50 per month with discounted rates of $42 per month for seniors and students.

The route is an augmented section of the $5-million Highway 16 Action Plan that is to connect communities from Prince George to Kitimat. Prince Rupert dropped out of the program to offer its own plan that applies only to women and children.

Smithers has committed to nearly $25,000 to the route to Prince George, the second-highest amount so far next to Prince George, which committed $50,000.

The Moricetown-Smithers six-day service was estimated to cost $140,800. Smithers and Moricetown committed to each paying half of the $20,000 cost that the local governments need to pay for the Moricetown service.

The bus shelter in Moricetown is part of $1.5 million being invested over two years by the provincial and federal governments to improve highway safety infrastructure. The new webcam in Telkwa at Hankin Road is also part of the program, with $1 million of the $1.5 million coming from the federal Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the rest from B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The rest of the Highway 16 transit plan is still pending financial approval by all the local governments along the route. The Smithers-Telkwa route is expected to add a later run in the early evening by this fall.