The northern community of Smithers, through a partnership with Moricetown, is the first to sign on for inter-community BC Transit service.
As of today, an implementation agreement between BC Transit and the Town of Smithers will enable new transit service to better connect Moricetown residents to services, jobs, recreation and relatives in Smithers. This agreement means that new bus services will run six days per week, linking the communities of Smithers and Moricetown, which are about 30 kilometres apart. This bus service will start up in January 2017.
This service complements current BC Transit services between the Hazeltons and Smithers where an increase in service is also proposed to provide trips three days per week from the existing two.
This is part of the $5-million Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, a shared cost initiative with local government partners. The plan has been developed to improve safety along this 800-kilometre stretch of highway, in particular to provide better and safer transportation options for women and teenage girls.
As part of the action plan, the Province is providing $2.4 million to BC Transit over three years to support enhanced transit service to better connect communities along the Highway 16 corridor. This funding is available on a cost-shared basis with the local communities.
“This transit agreement is terrific news for the residents of Smithers and Moricetown. Improving transit services along Highway 16 is a key component of our Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, to make things safer for all people who live along the corridor. More communities are gearing up to sign on for these expanded transit services, and we look forward to having more agreements to announce in the near future,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in a release.
“These expanded bus services will offer a safe, reliable, and affordable transport option for residents — whether they are connecting with family and friends, going to school or work, or participating in recreational activities. We thank BC Transit and the communities for being so diligent in their work to get these agreements signed, which will enable transit services to start rolling very soon,” said John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, in that release.
“We heard very clearly through our public consultation process that residents wanted an expanded transit link between Moricetown and Smithers in order to access services. We continue to work with our local and provincial partners to further implement transit service across the Highway 16 corridor,” added Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit chief executive officer and president.
“As our closest neighbour to the west, Moricetown is an important partner for the Town of Smithers. With the support of the Province, this new transit service holds the potential to not only ensure safe, affordable transportation, but also strengthen the relationship between our communities,” added Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach.
“Moricetown residents have always made Smithers their town to go for all their shopping and medical needs. Improvement in transportation will ensure safety for our residents and also open new opportunities for education and employment. We look forward to working with the Town of Smithers to move forward in our relationship,” added Moricetown Band Chief Duane Mitchell.