News / Halifax

Halifax Transit pitches 'higher level, higher quality' bus service at public meetings

The proposal for bus rapid transit in Halifax Regional Municipality includes four new routes.

Erin Blay with Halifax Transit talks to media before an open house session about a proposed Bus Rapid Transit network for Halifax on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

Zane Woodford / Metro

Erin Blay with Halifax Transit talks to media before an open house session about a proposed Bus Rapid Transit network for Halifax on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

Halifax Transit pitched its plan for bus rapid transit to the public at two open house meetings on Monday.

“Basically what it offers is a higher level, higher quality transit service as compared to what we can offer in mixed traffic,” Erin Blay, a supervisor at Halifax Transit, told reporters at Monday’s meeting.

Blay said a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Halifax would mean transit priority measures, including bus lanes, like those in various stages of council approval for Bayers Road, Young Street, Robie Street and Gottingen Street, and traffic signals that push buses through intersections before other vehicles.

Buses would run more frequently through the routes as well, Blay said. Though it wasn’t reflected on the boards at the open house, she said the new routes would run every 10 minutes during peak times, and every 15 minutes the rest of the time.

It could also mean off-board fare payment, where riders pay their fare at a kiosk or machine outside the buses, and swipe a loaded card when they board. This could also allow riders to board at the back door, not just the front.

Halifax Transit also laid out four proposed BRT routes on Monday, which Blay said were made from analysing ridership and traffic data.

Halifax Transit's proposed Bus Rapid Transit network, presented to the public at two open house sessions on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

Zane Woodford/Metro

Halifax Transit's proposed Bus Rapid Transit network, presented to the public at two open house sessions on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

The first route would start on the Bedford Highway around Mount Saint Vincent University, and take riders downtown.

The second route would run from the Portland Hills Terminal in Dartmouth, across the bridge and down Gottingen Street to Lower Water Street.

The third would run from Ridge Valley along Herring Cove Road to Bayers Road, and then along Robie Street to service Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s universities.

And the fourth route would run from the Lacewood Terminal, taking riders up North Street over the Macdonald Bridge to the Dartmouth.

Andrew Taylor, with the advocacy group It’s More Than Buses (IMTB), called the plan “a good start.”

“Ideally, if you lived within the area covered by the Centre Plan, you wouldn’t need a car,” he said.

Scott Edgar, also with IMTB, said he’d like to see careful consideration of the proposed routes, since they’re the same corridors that council has ordered Halifax Transit to have externally reviewed.

He also wants to see more fully thought-out plans on service frequency.

“If you have to wait for more than 15 minutes, maybe even really more than 10 minutes, it’s not BRT. If it doesn’t run early enough to get a nurse to an early morning shift, it’s not BRT. If it doesn’t run late enough to get her home from a late night shift, it’s not BRT,” Edgar said.

For more information on the proposed changes, and to let Halifax Transit know what you think, go to shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/bus-rapid-transit.

More on Metronews.ca