Smithers Mayor Wants Shuttle Bus to Connect Communities Along Highway 16
An anti-violence organization is applauding Smithers' mayor and council for their efforts to promote public transit between communities along Highway 16, from Prince George to Prince Rupert.
The hope is a shuttle service would give people who hitchhike an alternative option.
Organizations across BC feel that Smithers is taking a step in the right direction to put an end to losing women due to hitchhiking. Ending Violence Association Tracy Porteous says, “We applaud this step by the northern mayors especially as I understand it the mayor from Smithers has been leading the charge, because I think one of the things that is going to make a difference in this epidemic called violence against women, is for people to be more than idle bystanders and people to use their position to speak up.”
Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach feels that a shuttle bus could get people where they need to go safely and having the option will decrease their likelihood of hitchhiking. “I’m quite confident that if we have a consistent affordable predictable transit model in the North a lot of people would use it and I the reason I say that is because in the areas where we already do have transit for insistence between Smithers and Telkwa there’s a lot of people who choose transit and we don't see a lot of people hitchhiking, so if that was offered between other communities I think it would be very successful.”
Smithers town council has reached out to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. UBCM President Heath Slee says, “Because the concerns this area of highway 16 the North Central Government Association is a more effective lead for this initiative -- this decision from our resolutions committee is not a comment on the concept, it is just to simply state that there is a better way to achieve a the objective than a UBCM resolution.”
Bachrach says their resolution to UBCM was to get the idea in the minds of those in throughout the province. “Really our resolution to UBCM was a way to start the conversation and to get this issue back on the radar of the provincial government so I'm looking forward to sitting down with the minister of transportation and talking about our resolution and brain storming what some of the possibilities might be.”
18 women have been identified as missing or murdered after hitch hiking along Highways 16, 5 and 97... UNBC researchers are partnering up with RCMP to find out why people hitchhike knowing the risks.