Mayor Shari Green has drafted a letter in opposition to Greyhound Canada's proposal to reduce service along Highway 16 West, part of the so-called Highway of Tears, between Prince George and Prince Rupert.
Although DNA evidence has linked deceased U.S. inmate Bobby Jack Fowler to two murders committed in the early 1970s, there remains a large number of unsolved deaths and disappearances of women along the stretch, "which means the risk and danger for women continues," Green said.
Green noted that among the suggestions raised during the 2006 Highway of Tears symposium was a shuttle bus transportation system along Highway 16.
"The proposed reduction in service by Greyhound goes against the very need these northern communities have," Green said in the letter, written after the issue became a topic during Monday night's city council meeting.
Greyhound is seeking permission from the provincial government's Passenger Transportation Board to reduce the number of trips per week between Prince George and Prince Rupert to 14 from the current 22 by eliminating two trips per day.
In its submission, Greyhound says it lost $14.1 million on its passenger operations in B.C. during the past fiscal year and wants to cut service along 15 routes around the province.
For the two trips along Highway 16 West on the chopping block, Greyhound said the average passenger load was just 10.48 and 11.07 per trip and revenue per passenger mile is $2.31 and $2.25. Break even is $5.69 per passenger mile, which usually requires 35 passengers per trip.
Greyhound also had words for Northern Health's bus service for rural patients with medical appointments in Prince George, claiming no doctor referral is needed to use the service, which is heavily subsidized.
Northern Health has denied that claim.
"It is quite apparent that Greyhound Canada has a financial reason for suggesting reduced service and that they believe other factors listed above are affecting their business," Green said.
She urged the PTB to reject the application and encourage the provincial government, health authorities and Greyhound to work together to resolve the concerns, "so residents of the Highway 16 corridor and the North, especially women, can count on a safe highway transit system."
Greyhound also wants to reduced service between Prince George and Fort St. James to one trip per week from the current six.
The deadline for comments to the PTB is today.