Bus rapid transit could totally transform our transit network

Bus rapid transit could totally transform our transit network

Today is your chance to call for a great bus rapid transit system in Halifax. What is bus rapid transit? Bus rapid transit is a bus network so good you don’t even think to own a car in the city. To achieve this vision, we need a grid of great bus lines: buses that come by every 15 minutes or less, 365 days per year, and don’t get stuck in traffic. The busses need to run early enough to get police officers and nurses to work, and late enough to get bar staff home; this requires a basic amount of service (every 30 minutes) from 2am-6am.

Many of the necessary changes are already being accomplished in the Moving Forward Together Plan, which will see the ten corridor routes operating every 15 minutes by 2021. The key transit priority measures have been consulted on over the past month and should be implemented over the next three years. Thus, bus rapid transit should not require significant new resources.

Bus rapid transit must be designed to succeed. This means we need to increase the distance between stops, to an average of 400 metres. This will require an investment in sidewalk snow clearing, so that the bus rapid transit network’s sidewalks are cleared to bare pavement at least as quickly as the street. Installing benches and shelters at every stop on the bus rapid transit network will help people of all ages and abilities have a comfortable trip to the bus.

To keep the buses moving, we must allow all-door boarding, and either off-board fare payments or automatic ticketing kiosks on the bus. The bus driver must not be responsible for checking tickets. All new stops built on the bus rapid transit network should be designed for level boarding, so that the buses do not need to kneel when loading passengers who use walkers or wheelchairs.

There are two opportunities today to share this vision with city staff: from 2-4:30 or 5:30-8pm in the BMO Room at the Halifax Central Library, 5440 Spring Garden Road. If you cannot attend in person, there will be an online survey in the coming days at https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/bus-rapid-transit

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