Mayor Shane Brienen reported at the Dec. 20 regular council meeting an update about the Hwy. 16 regional transit service.
“It’s moving along. We are hoping for a January date. Nothing is final yet. Looks like everyone is on board except for PrinceRupert. They may opt out for the first year, and then we will proceed to see if we can get them on board in the fall,” said Brienen.
“If Prince Rupert opts out, with that increase [Houston’s] contribution?” asked councillor Tim Anderson?
Mayor Brienen responded that he doesn’t see that happening with other funding options available that the being explored by the Hwy. 16 Regional Transit Program.
Shortly after council met, it was released that Prince Rupert has chosen to not support the inter-community transit along Hwy.16.
B.C. Transit spokesperson Jonathon Dyck said that the cost for other routes will not be higher for local communities or the province based on this announcement.
In the story “Council agrees to amend Hwy.16 regional transit program contract” published in the Houston Today Dec. 14issue, the District of Houston agreed to provide up to $15,600 in funding to B.C Transit for the 2017 fiscal year.
The City of Prince Rupert announced on Dec. 7 that instead of supporting the Hwy. 16 action plan, the city will be supporting a localized solution with the North Coast Transition Society (NCTS) that offers at-risk women and children safe transportation.
The NCTS service enables women and children to call or text any time of the day or night if they need to travel and don’t have the means to pay. The travel assistance has been available for the past two years.
“The North Coast Transition Society’s existing service provides a safe and immediate response, and in addition NCTS provides wraparound social services and support to women and children to ensure they are adequately provided for in times of need.We believe this to be the most important priority,” said Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain.