BC Transit representatives seek feedback from Prince Rupert residents in the early fall.

Feedback for Highway 16 route deciphered

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were cited as the most desirable days for BC Transit service between Terrace and Prince Rupert

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were cited as the most desirable days for BC Transit service between Terrace and Prince Rupert from Highway 16 Action Plan respondents.

Feedback from the service provider’s latest tour across the north seeking answers for how the province can roll out the new, cheap transportation options from BC Transit garnered a strong response for weekend service, a report states.

“BC Transit has now summarized the information from the engagement process, including detailed feedback that will be used to help shape final service options,” said Jonathon Dyck, BC Transit communications manager in a press release.

Two round trips per day were proposed for two to three days per week from Terrace and Prince Rupert, with two buses leaving Prince Rupert at 9:35 a.m. and 5:10 p.m. and two buses leaving Terrace at 7:05 a.m. and 2:40 p.m.

Eighty-two per cent of respondents affected by the Terrace-Prince Rupert route reported that they supported this schedule, or supported it with modifications. Sixty-one people from Prince Rupert supported it and two from Port Edward did as well. One person from Port Edward supported it with modifications, while eight from Prince Rupert did not support the proposed times. Both people from Port Edward who responded were in support of the times. Seven from Prince Rupert reported that the service does not affect them.

“Many respondents observed that there would be desire for longer times in Terrace. Suggestions to accommodate this ranged from later return trips from Terrace, to basing the service in Prince Rupert, rather than Terrace,” the report read. Requests also came for later, evening service in Prince Rupert as well as a coordinated time schedule that does not conflict with VIA Rail or Greyhound.

On the Terrace-Prince Rupert route, the top three preferred service days (in order) were Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Those days were also very popular with the other three service segments (Hazeltons-Terrace, Burns Lake-Smithers, Burns Lake-Prince George).

The report states that while Rupertites may get their wish for weekend service, it is not likely that they will receive service for all three of those days.

“The results show a common interest in Friday and Saturday service across all service segments. Although efforts will be made to ensure each segment receives one or two of their preferred days, practical considerations may mean that the final service plan for the areas allocates differently than those shown here,” the report states.

The response to the proposed fare of $5 per trip, or 10 trips for $45, was overwhelmingly positive, with more than 100 respondents supporting it and approximately 20 saying they don’t or it does not affect them.

Eighty-six people supported the fare, or supported it with modifications in Prince Rupert and Port Edward and eight did not support it.

In Prince Rupert, the top destinations for a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly trip respectively were Port Edward, Terrace, Terrace and Prince George.

From Port Edward the top destinations for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly trips respectively were Prince Rupert, Terrace, Terrace and Prince George.

Overall, BC Transit engaged in 20 public engagement events in communities along Highway 16, ran a four-week online survey, had 1,033 paper and online surveys submitted and 720 in-person participants.

Next, BC Transit and the province will work with local governments to sign an Implementation Agreement Memorandum of Understanding for the funding of the program.

Funding from the province is available for this program for three years, and Port Edward and Prince Rupert district and city officials will consult with the public over how much of their budgets can be contributed toward this program in the future.