No winter tires available for Halifax Transit buses: Staff Report

WATCH ABOVE: Halifax Transit will start testing a different type of tire on some buses this year. The pilot project was prompted after the transit union called for winter tires on all Halifax transit busses, but as Global’s Marieke Walsh reports, staff has said winter tires aren’t an option.

HALIFAX – Winter tires aren’t available in the size needed for Halifax Transit buses, according to a new city staff report.

The report, which will be presented to regional council Tuesday, said a survey conducted of other Canadian municipalities, “found that winter tires are not available to the Canadian market,” for transit vehicles.

Staff also found that existing winter tires for trucks and buses are not available in the sizes required by Halifax Transit. For example, winter tires used in Europe are too wide for Halifax Transit buses.

Seven municipalities responded to the Halifax survey about the tires used for public transit buses during the winter season. Of the municipalities that responded, the staff report concluded that Halifax’s specifications for all season mud/snow tires are the standard used across the country.

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There are some differences. For Winter 2014/15, Halifax increased its minimum tread depth for tires from 4/32nds of an inch to 8/32nds of an inch. The change was made to, “improve traction during the winter months.” However, other regions maintain higher minimum tread depth requirements. For example, Quebec’s transit authority removes tires on 60 ft buses when the tires reach a tread depth of 14/32nds of an inch, and the Region of Durham, Ontario, removes front tires when they reach 9/32nds of an inch.

At least one region, Whistler, BC, maintains lower minimum tread depth (7/32nds of an inch). However, it also uses other measures that Halifax can’t do, for example, regrooving front tires for more traction. The staff report said legislation prevents Halifax from regrooving tires.


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