First reactions to the new Rapid Transit Strategy
Last week, Halifax Transit gave the public its first look at something its calling a Rapid Transit Strategy. There’s too much to say about it in a single post, so I’ll be posting a few different thoughts over the course of the week.
The Rapid Transit Strategy is a 10-year plan to built a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network and a new fast ferry from Mill Cove to downtown Halifax.
It is by far the most ambitious plan the public has seen from Halifax Transit since. . . well, since amalgamation. Part of Halifax Transit’s motivation for putting together such an ambitious plan is to unlock Federal government finding for infrastructure. There’s money on the table to think big, so Halifax Transit is trying to think big.
I’ll have critical points to make later in the week. But for now, the first point to make is that the BRT proposal is excellent. Here are some of the highlights:
- A simple, easy-to-remember network;
- Connecting Spryfield, Lacewood, Kearney Lake, Dartmouth Crossing, and Portland Hills to downtown Halifax and downtown Dartmouth;
- Intensive transit priority measures that ensure BRT doesn’t get stuff in traffic;
- 10-minute frequencies on all four lines, seven days a week, for 16 hours a day on weekdays (and a little less on weekends).
Yes, you read that right. Buses will come every ten minutes for 16 hours a day.
This is what IMTB has been screaming about for years. A simplified, transfer-based network, with enough transit priority to make sure buses aren’t stuck in traffic, and frequent enough service to make transfers painless.
Let’s be very clear. This proposal is not a tweak to the existing system. It’s not an incremental improvement over the status quo. On the contrary, Halifax Transit has finally tabled a proposal that, if built, would dramatically improve the quality of transit in HRM. Finally, this is a plan that transit users can get excited about.
Are there things missing from the proposal? Yes, definitely. Some big things even. Stay tuned, and we’ll get into them later this week.