City, RD sign transit agreement

The Highway 16 Inter Community Bus Service is a go.

The partnership agreement between the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako and the City of Prince George will be signed as agreed at Monday night's council meeting.

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Both parties are ready to support and enhance public transportation options along the Highway 16 corridor as the City of Prince George agrees to its annual contribution of $50,000 per year for five years effective June 15.

The program supports council's focus in areas including: developing and integrating transportation linkages, prioritizing service, transportation, recreation and facility infrastructure needs and investment and collaborating with partners to enhance the quality of life for residents.

This also comes in light of Greyhound, Canada's largest bus operator, having recently applied to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to pull services out of Northern B.C. saying that competition from other ride services and local transit is hurting Greyhound business along northern routes.

This has caused much concern from residents who would no longer have service along the highway from Prince George to Prince Rupert, also famously known as the Highway of Tears where many indigenous women have disappeared or have been found murdered.

But city council, is not ready to let go.

"For some people, there are no other options. It's important we move forward with Greyhound. If not, more people will be opting for other options like hitchhiking and other options," said Coun. Murry Krause regarding a resolution to UBCM to cease operation.

Mayor Lyn Hall will be meeting with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastucture along with other Regional Districts and municipalities who will be impacted.

"We will then meet with the vice-president from Greyhound but we don't expect a decision for a while," Hall said.

Council was in unanimous support of the resolution calling on the Passenger Transportation Board to decline Greyhound's application to cease operations in selected inter-city bus routes.

"It's unusual for a business to ask permission to go out of business. But it's important to keep this service here in the north," said Coun. Jillian Merrick.

"It's about safety," Coun. Garth Frizzell said. "I hope this resolution will change their minds."

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