While some local residents say they’ve found the schedule of the new bus service along Hwy. 16 confusing, B.C. Transit officials say they’ve only received positive feedback.
The new bus service, which began operating on June 19, connects Burns Lake to Prince George and Burns Lake to Smithers three times per week.
“What we heard so far is excitement,” said Jonathon Dyck, a spokesperson for B.C. Transit.
In route 162, from Burns Lake to Smithers, the bus connects Burns Lake and Wet’suwet’en twice before heading to Smithers. The bus leaves Burns Lake (Government Street) at 6:46 a.m. and arrives at the Wet’suwet’en stop at 7 a.m. The bus then returns to Burns Lake at 7:14 a.m. and heads back to the Wet’suwet’en stop at 7:40 a.m. before continuing westbound toward Smithers.
When asked if this loop is necessary, Dyck said it is intended to provide the Wet’suwet’en community with transportation to Burns Lake six days a week.
“Both the 161 and 162 leave that stop in Wet’suwet’en to Burns Lake at 7 a.m. Monday to Saturday, and it returns [to Wet’suwet’en] at 5:39 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 6:56 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,” he said.
“The idea behind that was getting people access to better opportunities and providing access between the two communities for work, recreation and shopping,” he continued. “During consultation we heard that it was important to have connections between communities.”
Dyck said the schedule was developed based on input from local consultation in the summer of 2016.
“When we’re introducing a new service, it can take time for people to get used to it, including the scheduling and routing,” he said. “We recognize that any time a new service begins there will be constructive feedback.”
“We want people to feel comfortable with the schedule, and how to access the bus, so we’re happy to work with them on that,” he added.
The public is encouraged to provide feedback to B.C. Transit by calling 855-499-1119, or by contacting them online at bctransit.com/bulkley-nechako.