A new van for the Village of Granisle’s transit service has been ordered to replace the one pictured above. (Contributed photo)

A new van for the Village of Granisle’s transit service has been ordered to replace the one pictured above. (Contributed photo)

Granisle supports northern transit booking system in principle

Village van provides service to Burns Lake and Smithers

The Village of Granisle council has expressed cautious support for a plan for an integrated online booking system for the myriad of northern B.C. transit options.

The village is one of more than a dozen northern communities and organizations to receive provincial financing to run locally-based vehicles from smaller communities to mostly larger communities along the north’s major highways.

For Granisle residents, it means weekly connections for medical, commercial, retail and other appointments in either Burns Lake or Smithers.

And now the Northern Development Initiative Trust says there’s merit in adapting an existing European online booking system to make schedule and other information less confusing to obtain and easier to then book rides.

“Our council has offered our support in principle to Northern Development Initiative Trust for an integrated booking system for the transit services offered along major highways,” said Granisle mayor Linda McGuire.

“However, we feel with the community based services like Granisle, with different schedules, [that] could pose challenges and difficult to manage an online booking system,” she said in reference to how scheduling might mesh between various services.

The village would “certainly be open to a dialogue addressing potential challenges should this booking model move forward,” McGuire added.

Aside from locally-run services, BC Transit operates buses between communities as does BC Bus, another agency financed by the province, along the north’s major highways such as Hwy16.

As well, the Northern Health Authority runs Northern Connections, a local and long distance service connecting people with medical facilities.

As well, people over 60 can now ride Northern Connections buses regardless of having a medical appointment or not.

Northern Development Initiative Trust has been asking local governments and others in the plan for support for its booking plan as it wants the provincial transportation ministry to share the cost.

In the meantime, a recent grant to the Village of Granisle means it can now purchase a new passenger transit vehicle.

McGuire said the vehicle has been ordered but with no potential delivery date yet.

“Once again, it will be a 15-passenger unit with the flexibility of removing seats to accommodate grocery orders and ridership,” she said.