Highway of Tears bus service to run from Prince George to Prince Rupert

B.C. announces Highway of Tears bus route

  • Jun. 15, 2016 2:00 p.m.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A bus service that links communities along a notorious stretch of highway in northern British Columbia known as the Highway of Tears will carry passengers by the end of the year, the province’s transportation minister said Wednesday.

Eighteen women have been murdered or have disappeared along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert and adjacent routes since the 1970s.

First Nations, social service agencies and women’s groups have been calling for a shuttle bus service in the area for several years to provide regular transportation for people who live in communities along the 750-kilometre route.

The highway cuts through the centre of the province and follows rivers and mountains, passing through numerous small communities, including Houston, Smithers and Burns Lake. The route also provides the main transportation link to and from remote First Nations villages located off the main highway.

Most cases of murdered and missing women remain unsolved, though investigators don’t believe a single killer is responsible.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone says agreements between 16 communities along the highway will allow B.C. Transit to operate a scheduled bus service between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

“Absolutely, this initiative is all about safety,” he said.

He said the communities, the province and B.C. Transit must still develop service schedules and provide extra buses for the route.

Stone said plans for the Highway 16 area also include offering bus driver training programs for First Nations to provide transportation service from their remote villages to other major communities along the highway.

Chief Corrina Leween of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation said the bus service helps many living in towns on or near the highway, but it offers little comfort to those off the main road.

“The work they are doing for the core group on the corridor is good, but for us it really doesn’t work because we’re off the beaten trail,” she said.

Leween said the main Cheslatta community of about 300 people is located about 25 kilometres south of Burns Lake and getting to the highway requires a ferry trip and travel on a dirt road.

Five Cheslatta people, including a family of four and a male elder, have disappeared from the area over the years, she said.

New Democrat Maurine Karagianis, the Opposition’s critic for women, said area residents and local politicians have called for improved transportation services for years, but the government has been stalling while many people hitchhike for rides with strangers.

“I say get on with it,” she said.

First Nations advocate Mary Teegee said a decade ago, dozens of people walked from Prince Rupert to Prince George to call for better transportation service along the highway.

“It has been 10 years since of the Highway of Tears recommendations report came out and we are finally making progress,” she said in a statement. “I view transportation as a human rights issue in the north and we are working toward making sure everyone has access.”

— By Dirk Meissner in Victoria

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read