Halifax deputy mayor Lisa Blackburn promised a group of concerned transit riders that the North Beaver Bank bus service will be restored to its original course.
“I’ve always thought it was incredibly shortsighted,” said Blackburn regarding Halifax Regional Municipalities’ decision to cut seven kilometres off the most northern stretch of the Beaver Bank bus route.
The cut to the North Beaver Bank transit route came back in November when the municipality revealed sweeping changes to its transit routes across the regional municipality as part of the “Moving Forward Together” plan, a document designed to improve transit connectivity and service.
In the case of some riders in North Beaver Bank, it’s left them isolated and having to find alternatives transportation measures to reach a bus stop.
“I will continue to fight this,” said Blackburn.
“When the regional plan is cracked open this year, the first thing that I’m going to be bringing to council is the ask that North Beaver Bank and Lucasville be included in the urban transit boundary.”
Lyla Mailman, a transit advocate and founder of Beaver Bank Community Watch, has been pushing the municipality to put the route back in place for the residents affected by the changes and says they’ve gathered more than 500 signatures on the petition.
“Our focus is to get the bus service back to North Beaver Bank as soon as possible,” said Mailman. “There has been a lot of people isolated and affected by this and so now we really need it back to allow life to resume as it once did.”
Last January, a motion was made at council by Blackburn to restore the Beaver Bank bus route during morning and evening hours, but that motion was voted down at the transportation committee and at council.
The loss has affected riders like Beulah Croft, a senior citizen who attended the meeting and said she’s relied on the transit service since her husband died in 2004 and is now having to rely on others to give her rides and says the transit cut has hurt her independence.
“I can’t get out like I used to and I have to depend on other people to get the groceries and go to appointments, it’s very inconvenient,” said Croft.
“I want the bus to come back, even if it’s just a day or two.”
Deputy mayor Blackburn said come spring, it’s anticipated council will review all regional planning documents. That, Blackburn said, will be an opportunity to add North Beaver Bank back in tthe urban transit limits, which she says will be a top priority.