Thousands of people in the North have been making use of the services provided by the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan.

According to a release from the province, in its first year, 5,000 passengers used the inter-community BC Transit service along Highway 16. Approximately 18,000 people have used the service in the two years since its inception.

“These safe travel options are particularly critical for women, teenagers and elders, who have been asking for these services to be brought in,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“These buses are providing an important and affordable service to people in B.C.’s northern communities, and I look forward to seeing ridership growth continue.”

The inter-community routes connect people between Smithers and Moricetown, Burns Lake and Prince George, Burns Lake and Smithers, and Terrace and the Hazeltons.

The bus services provide an affordable way to travel between communities. The one-way fare for the Smithers/Moricetown route is $2.75 and $5 per segment for the other routes.

Routes 161 and 162 originating in Burns Lake now have 30-seat capacity buses and overhead package racks, offering better service to people.

The breakdown of ridership per transit route is as follows:

* Smithers to Moricetown: approximately 115 people per month

* Burns Lake to Smithers: approximately 160 people per month

* Burns Lake to Prince George: approximately 390 people per month

* Hazelton to Terrace: approximately 170 people per month

* Hazelton to Smithers: approximately 285 people per month