A northern Ontario First Nation is hoping a neighbouring city will give the community its own bus route.

Garden River is asking Sault Ste. Marie to extend public transit service, about 8 km outside city limits. But Sault Transit staff said that would cost about $270,000 a year and has suggested that council turn the idea down.

But councillors instead asked Garden River to share that cost with the city.

With the first nation's budget largely controlled by the federal government, Chief Lyle Sayers said finding that money won't be easy.

"We would certainly have to look at money we can utilize for those kinds of things. Another area may have to be cut," he said.

But Sayers added he is looking forward to finding a solution, as is Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Debbie Amaroso, who acknowledged there is a need for more regional public transit in the north, but who pays for it is the major roadblock.

"How does this get funded? Because that cannot fall back, then, on the taxpayers of Sault Ste. Marie," she said.

Sayers said the service is much-needed, as many people in his community work or go to school in Sault Ste. Marie, but have trouble getting there. He said it's not uncommon to see students thumbing rides in the morning — something he used to do.

"I used to hitchhike every day," he said.

"Up to town, I used to get a ride with a gentleman who had a cement truck. He used to pick me up every morning and I'd get a ride to school."