News / Halifax

Halifax Transit officials to face council over change in system-wide redesign

Regional councillors have asked Halifax Transit officials to appear at the weekly meeting Tuesday to explain the recently revealed decision to move from a complete network redesign to “tweaking” the existing system.

Halifax Transit director Eddie Robar and manager of planning and scheduling Dave Reage told the transportation standing committee on Sept. 10 that plans to move to a high-frequency, high-ridership, transfer-based system – which involves shorter routes and more transfers – had been scrapped in favour of more moderate adjustments.

Reage said that modeling had suggested Halifax doesn’t have the population or geography to support a transfer-based system.

Coun. Gloria McCluskey, who does not sit on the committee, said Sunday she wants an explanation for the change in direction directly from transit officials, rather than reading it in an information report.

“I want to know the reasons,” she said, adding she’s heard negative feedback from residents about the decision. “The thing about standing committees, the people on the committee get all the information…I think the rest of us need the same presentation that they received.”

Council unanimously approved a system-wide redesign in January, when the same transit managers said that a five-year service review didn’t go far enough in embracing the principles that emerged from public consultations.

McCluskey said she’s reserving judgment on whether any motions are necessary to steer transit officials in any particular direction.

“I haven't heard their case presented,” she said. “Depending on what the presentation says, I might be asking why not.”

Coun. Tim Outhit, who is a member of the standing committee, said he’s pleased that full council will now have a chance to hear from transit officials and discuss the latest change in direction.

“It may very well be the right decision, but I don't like surprises,” he said. “And I think when they can't follow the instructions of council and of the consultation, they should have to come back and explain why.”

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