Government ‘fully committed’ to BC Bus North

The B.C. NDP government is “fully committed” to keeping the BC Bus North system on the road, transportation mi…

The B.C. NDP government is “fully committed” to keeping the BC Bus North system on the road, transportation minister Rob Fleming says.

He provided the comment in response to a call by his BC Liberal counterpart, Michael Lee, to immediately renew funding for the service before it expires at the end of next month.

In January 2020, the federal and provincial governments said they would each contribute about $1 million towards maintaining the service until at least the end of March 2021.

“Access to transportation in the north is a priority for this government,” Fleming said. “We continue to work with our federal counterparts, communities and other stakeholders, and expect we will be able to share more details soon.”

BC Bus North was first launched in 2018 to fill the gap left behind when Greyhound discontinued its northern B.C. routes. It has provided service to nearly 9,000 riders since then and has become lifeline for many remote and northern communities, the Liberals say.

BC Bus North is a critical service in northern B.C., connecting remote communities and providing safe transportation to residents,” Lee said in a statement.

“It is an extremely valuable part of the province’s transportation network and 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.”

As well as serving larger communities along Highway 16 East, BC Bus North also goes to Fort Nelson and Valemount. Northern Health also provides a service for people in northern B.C. with medical appointments in the Lower Mainland and BC Transit offers a shuttle service along Highway 16 East.

Written by Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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