$7.9 million is being allocated to address the growing demand for public transportation services throughout rural and remote Northern BC communities.

The funding is provided by the provincial and federal governments and will be administered through local non-profit, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, funding will respond to the long-term impacts of the pandemic and will help ease the demand for public transportation within rural Northern communities until 2025.

The new funding will enable northern bus services, including the areas served by BC Bus North, which serves communities such as Prince George, Prince Rupert, and Fort Nelson to continue operation.

“People all across British Columbia rely on safe and reliable public transportation options. The funding announced through the Safe Restart Agreement with the federal government and the provinces will ensure the continued operation of these critical services,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Northern Development Initiative Trust will work with regional districts, local governments, and Indigenous communities to develop a grant program to address the North’s transportation needs.

“Due to the unique nature of the region and the long distances between communities, affordable and reliable transportation is essential for people who live and work in the region,” said Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Northern Development Initiative Trust will also analyze existing transportation services in the North and establish criteria for the grant program.

All $7.9 million will be made available through the $1.08 billion SafeRestart program that was created to ensure essential public transportation services continue to operate during and after the pandemic.