Northern Development staff are in the midst of travelling over 4,900 highway kilometres throughout the Trust’s service region to gather insights into long distance transportation needs and services in Northern B.C. What is learned during this time will be used in developing the Request for Proposals for long haul transportation services through the Northern Passenger Transportation Service fund.
Two staff members have already travelled through B.C.’s northwest and northeast, with public consultations taking place in Fort Nelson, Lower Post, Dease Lake, Gitlaxt’aamix (formerly known as New Aiyansh) and Prince Rupert. In June, they will travel to Anahim Lake, Bella Coola and the Bridge River Valley.
The fund aims to support transportation services that connect people to regional centres and/or provide long-distance connections to support labour mobility, access to education and training, promoting maintenance of contact with family and friends and access to health services. It follows the Northern Community Shuttle Program, which was administered through the same fund earlier in 2022.
The funding is available through the Province of B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and is administered by Northern Development Initiative Trust, who recognize the continued challenges northerners face accessing safe, reliable transportation options. The Northern Passenger Transportation Service is a successor to the Ministry’s Highway 16 Community Transportation Grant Program, which provided $2.6 million to 12 community transportation services.