Halifax Transit Needs Emergency Federal Funding

You’ve probably seen Halifax Transit’s cuts to service. The increased wait times on lots of routes, including the ferries, are an inconvenience. But the wholesale elimination of certain routes is a disaster. Even if it affects only a small number of people, there are some people who rely on that service to get to jobs we all now recognize as essential.

So why did Halifax Transit eliminate those routes? They’re out of money. They’re dead broke. Halifax Transit eliminated fares to protect their drivers, and that was the right thing to do. But now they’ve got no income. And even if they were collecting fares, ridership has dropped so much (90% by a recent estimate) that fares aren’t going to make a difference anyway. And that drop in ridership is exactly what we want right now. There is no safe way for Halifax Transit to operate in a COVID-19 world without being dead broke all the time.

But transit is still essential for the essential workers who rely on it. Right now, we need the buses and ferries running, even if they’re mostly empty. Because the few people still taking transit are taking it to jobs we all need done. They’re healthcare professionals or hospital cleaning staff. They’re stocking shelves at the grocery store or behind the cash register at the pharmacy.

So today, over 60 different organizations from all across Canada, representing healthcare professionals, business, labour, and yes, even us lowly transit advocates, are calling on Ottawa to provide emergency federal funding for Canada’s transit agencies. We need to keep the buses running, and frankly, right now we need the Feds’ help to do it. 

You can read the letter and see the full list of signatories here.

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