Future of transit comes into focus at Halifax municipal council
Halifax transit may look quite different in the coming years if the issues up for debate at Tuesday’s municipal council are passed.
Four of the motions on the council schedule were related to city’s transit structure with each related to the growth or modification of the existing infrastructure.
Two contracts, worth roughly $13.9 million, were awarded to Trapeze Software ULC during council, laying the groundwork for an improved route plan and a new electronic payment system on Halifax buses and ferries.
The first contract will have the company examine and fix the city transit’s rout planning, scheduling and operations. The report by council said that the current model doesn’t “meet the requirements of transit” or support “new functionality.”
Council voting 13-3 to award the contract.
The second contract will see new fareboxes installed on city transit buses. They’ll be capable of informing drivers about whether a passenger has paid their full fare as well as print out transfers, something which is currently done by hand.
More importantly, the new boxes may eventually allow passengers to pay their fare pre-loaded smart card, smart phone or credit card.
Another portion of the contract would also introduce ticket vending machines. Tickets are currently only available in stores.
The motion passed council by a 15-1 vote with Matt Whitman, councillor for Hammonds Plains – St. Margarets, being the sole no vote.
Lisa Blackburn, councillor for Middle/Upper Sackville – Beaver Bank – Lucasville, said that the move would likey bring in more riders.
“It’d be the first step in making transit sexier than driving,” said Blackburn.
Better ferries and pets on board
A motion by David Hendsbee, councillor for Preston–Chezzetcook–Eastern Shore asking for a staff report on whether it’s feasible to allow dogs on the ferry.
That motion was defeated 10-5.
Sam Austin, councillor for Dartmouth Centre, asked for the city to review how ferries are operated during special events and holidays.
The motion originates from this past weekends Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Festival, which saw long lineups fill both ferry terminals.
The main issue, as laid out in Austin’s motion, is that the ferry operates once every 30 minutes. There were some alterations made on Sunday, with a 15-minute service being provided between 11:15 a.m. to 7 p.m., but that wasn’t enough for the overall weekend.
“There’s a lot of frustration from folks about the wait,” Austin told Global News on Monday.
The motion was carried unanimously.
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