Highway of Tears bus service to run from Prince George to Prince Rupert

B.C. announces Highway of Tears bus route

  • Jun. 15, 2016 8:00 p.m.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A bus service that links communities along a notorious stretch of highway in northern British Columbia known as the Highway of Tears will carry passengers by the end of the year, the province’s transportation minister said Wednesday.

Eighteen women have been murdered or have disappeared along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert and adjacent routes since the 1970s.

First Nations, social service agencies and women’s groups have been calling for a shuttle bus service in the area for several years to provide regular transportation for people who live in communities along the 750-kilometre route.

The highway cuts through the centre of the province and follows rivers and mountains, passing through numerous small communities, including Houston, Smithers and Burns Lake. The route also provides the main transportation link to and from remote First Nations villages located off the main highway.

Most cases of murdered and missing women remain unsolved, though investigators don’t believe a single killer is responsible.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone says agreements between 16 communities along the highway will allow B.C. Transit to operate a scheduled bus service between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

“Absolutely, this initiative is all about safety,” he said.

He said the communities, the province and B.C. Transit must still develop service schedules and provide extra buses for the route.

Stone said plans for the Highway 16 area also include offering bus driver training programs for First Nations to provide transportation service from their remote villages to other major communities along the highway.

Chief Corrina Leween of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation said the bus service helps many living in towns on or near the highway, but it offers little comfort to those off the main road.

“The work they are doing for the core group on the corridor is good, but for us it really doesn’t work because we’re off the beaten trail,” she said.

Leween said the main Cheslatta community of about 300 people is located about 25 kilometres south of Burns Lake and getting to the highway requires a ferry trip and travel on a dirt road.

Five Cheslatta people, including a family of four and a male elder, have disappeared from the area over the years, she said.

New Democrat Maurine Karagianis, the Opposition’s critic for women, said area residents and local politicians have called for improved transportation services for years, but the government has been stalling while many people hitchhike for rides with strangers.

“I say get on with it,” she said.

First Nations advocate Mary Teegee said a decade ago, dozens of people walked from Prince Rupert to Prince George to call for better transportation service along the highway.

“It has been 10 years since of the Highway of Tears recommendations report came out and we are finally making progress,” she said in a statement. “I view transportation as a human rights issue in the north and we are working toward making sure everyone has access.”

— By Dirk Meissner in Victoria

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff at Acropolis Manor, a Prince Rupert long-term health care facility in April 2020 where no cases of COVID-19 were reported until an outbreak on Jan. 19, 2021. As of Jan. 25th, 32 people associated with the residence have tested positive for the virus. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Staff at Acropolis Manor a Prince Rupert long term health care facility, take pride in their work place that no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the facility during the pandemic.This photo taken, April 20, from outside, looking through a window shows staff adhering to strict protocols and best practices to keep residents happy and healthy. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 numbers increase at Acropolis Manor – 32 infected

Prince Rupert man concerned about temp. staff from out of region working at long-term care facility

Ken Veldman vice president, public affairs and sustainability, at Prince Port Port Authority on Jan. 21 addressed local employers in an online presentation about a new community recruitment program to attract employees to Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
New recruitment campaign to be launched in Prince Rupert

Web platform will use community collaboration to attract new employees to Prince Rupert

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Most Read