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Highway of Tears bus service to run from Prince George to Prince Rupert

The Yellowhead, Highway 16, near Prince George, B.C., is pictured on October 8, 2012. The small British Columbia Cheslatta Carrier Nation has a decades-long anguished relationship with Highway 16, or the so-called Highway of Tears.Five people from the community of less than 350 near Burns Lake in central B.C. have disappeared along the route, including an entire family of four, says Chief Corrina Leween. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

PRINCE GEORGE – The British Columbia government says a bus service will be available between Prince George and Prince Rupert by the end of the year on a notorious stretch of road known as the Highway of Tears.

Eighteen women have been murdered or have disappeared along Highway 16 and adjacent routes since the 1970s.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone says agreements between 16 communities along the highway will allow BC Transit to operate a scheduled bus service, slated to start at the end of the year.

First Nations, social service agencies and women’s groups have called for a shuttle bus service in the area to provide safe, regular transportation for people who live in communities along the highway.

The provincial government announced a five-point transportation plan late last year that promised regular BC Transit service and programs to train bus drivers from area First Nation communities.

Stone says the BC government is providing an extra $1 million to run the bus service while the federal government is contributing $1 million to fund bus shelters, lights and webcams along the route.